Robert K. Greenleaf, describes servant leadership as our innate desire to bring out the best in others. As he says: "The servant-leader is a servant first. . . . It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. . . . The best test is: do those served grow as persons: Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, not be further deprived?" In effect, servant leadership involves added qualities such as listening, respect, empathy and being authentic in the caring and well-being of others so that they can excel.
Both the servant and stewardship approaches to leadership speak to the highest qualities of people by creating the conditions for others to reach their full potential and develop their own leadership style. These approaches apply when interacting with the full spectrum of individuals from varying cultures and ages since the core qualities are deeply humanistic.