Serving Quotes

Below are some quotes on serving. To know how to use and implement quotes into your everyday life and leadership I suggest reading: How to use Quotes. You can also get a free copy of my quote book Characteristics and Qualities of a Great Leader by clicking here. This topic is in the book however, I have added several quotes not included within the chapter.  I hope you enjoy them!

“Servant-leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win. In that situation, they don’t work for you, you work for them.” ~Ken Blanchard

“Our top-down pyramid style of management is a very old concept borrowed from centuries of war and monarchies.” James C. Hunter

“Servant leadership teaches us that you have to lay your cards on the table.” ~Warren Bennis

“Good leaders must first become good servants.” ~Robert Greenleaf

“Servant-leadership is more than a concept, it is a fact. Any great leader, by which I also mean an ethical leader of any group, will see herself or himself as a servant of that group and will act accordingly.” ~Scott Peck

“If leadership serves only the leader, it will fail. Ego satisfaction, financial gain, and status can all be valuable tools for a leader, but if they become the only motivations, they will eventually destroy a leader. Only when service for a common good is the primary purpose are you truly leading.” ~Sheila  Bethel

“We are here to add what we can to, not get what we can from life.” ~William Osler

“Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service.” ~Henry Ford

“The purpose of life is not to win. The purpose of life is to grow and to share. When you come to look back on all that you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you have brought into other people’s lives than you will from the times that you outdid and defeated them.” ~Harold Kushner

“A person who is worthy of being a leader wants power not for himself, but in order to be of service.” ~ Sam Ervin, Jr.

“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

“I learned that if you can retain the feeling of what it feels like to be a “have not” in a society of “haves”, to be down in the hierarchy, you can carry that with you into leadership positions.” ~ James A. Autry

“This is a service station, we offer service. There is no higher purpose.” ~Nick Nolte

“A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.”  ~Jim Rohn

“Blessed is the leader who seeks the best for those he serves.” ~Unknown

“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” ~Zig Ziglar

“Service is the rent we pay to be living. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.” ~Marian Wright Edelman

“What originally led us to serve others by leading them seldom remains our North Star.”  Dan B. Allender

“Who then is the greatest leader? The one who has served the most.” ~James C. Hunter

Questions: What is your favorite serving quote? How important is it for a leader to serve the people around them? How are you becoming a servant leader?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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30 thoughts on “Serving Quotes

  1. Hello Dan,

    Thanks For Lightning My Day. Now I feel inspired and I’m going to put this inspiration into action. I can see a wonderful day ahead of me.. :)

    One quote about serving that I always keep in mind is this:

    “We must be silent before we can listen. We must listen before we can learn. We must learn before we can prepare. We must prepare before we can serve. We must serve before we can lead.”—William Arthur Ward

  2. Great quotes. And true.

    Leadership is about serving. On some level you must serve those you lead. Otherwise, why should they even follow you. A leader can only lead if he has followers who are willing to follow. No one will continue to follow a leader who forgets those who’ve helped his rise to position.

    In truth, you can only ever lead when you are willing to serve.


  3. These are great quotes, Dan. I find I have to continually change my way of thinking in order to develop a servant attitude as I was raised in a setting which described success as “doing what you want when you want.” I find I’m much happier when I have a servant heart – and so is God!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed them Barb. Choosing to serve people is a daily choice a leader has to make. For some it comes easier than others. Thank you for taking the time to add to the conversation.

  4. I always enjoy your quotes! My favorite serve quote; “Tis better to give than to receive.” I’ve found that true winning in life is about helping others win. Thanks for the post, Dan.

  5. Great collection, Dan. I love Schweitzer’s words as he admonishes young people that the only happy people are those who find a way to serve. Look up his works; they’re old, but they’re spectacular studies in service and respect for others.

    • Thanks Justin:) Great point about serving and happiness. I have found it to be true in my life. I’ll make sure do look up some of his work, thank you for adding to the discussion.

  6. My favorite one for sure is the one from Ken Blanchard…“Servant-leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win. In that situation, they don’t work for you, you work for them.”. I’m two posts away from finishing on the series of the 10 Principles of Servant Leadership. Anyone who has free time in their hands, feel free to visit my site…
    Thanks again Dan for another amazing post!…:-)

    • Micky,

      That’s a good one! Your series has been great! I highly recommend people visit your site to read and learn about this very important topic. Thanks for sharing the link with us:)

  7. “Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service” – I think that forms the basis of my financial philosophy, and I think Steve Jobs said something similar (can’t give him credit over Henry Ford though). I have yet to meet someone in person who understands this, I’ve tried to explain many times that service and value = wealth, but it never sinks in. They all seem to have the focus on time = money and proceed to work as long/hard as possible.

    I’ve concluded that either a) they simply block it out because they don’t want to hear it, or b) my communication/leadership skills are off par. I think I’d choose option b) though, then it gives me a chance to grow. Thanks for the list of quotes, Dan, they’re always an inspiring read! :)

    • Nick,

      Great quote. It’s true when we serve and add value to people the return is often wealth or value onto us as well. Thank you for sharing some great points and adding to the conversation.

  8. Hi Dan,

    This was a brilliant set of quotes. Thank you for sharing.

    In particular, I liked the one by Harold Kushner. There can be so much power and influence involved in leadership that a leader can easily be seduced in a take, take mentality. As these quotes demonstrate, such an approach misses a core essence of leadership; namely serving others. By missing the opportunity to serve others, ultimately it is the leader who will suffer.

    • Hello Hiten,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the quotes. The Harold Kushner quote is great! I totally agree about the leader suffering if they do not serve. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion:)

  9. Love that one by Harold Kushner “The purpose of life is not to win. The purpose of life is to grow and to share….” I am in the journey of learning how to serve better, got ways to go :) But the more i learn, the more i realize that no one dislikes being served. A servants heart is vital for any leader.

    • Me too:) It’s a powerful one. I think we all would benefit from being on the growth path of how to better serve others. Thank you for reading and sharing.