Difference Between Servant Leadership and Transformational Leadership

The key difference between servant leadership and transformational leadership is that in servant leadership style, the focus of the leader is on his followers whereas, in transformational leadership, the focus of the leader is towards the organization and organizational objectives.

Leadership is not meant only for the top-level; leaders can be found at all levels. Moreover, different strategies and practices can make a unique leadership style. Servant leadership and transformational leadership are two such styles of leaderships. Individuals and organizations can find success with both these leadership styles.


1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Servant Leadership 
3. What is Transformational Leadership
4. Similarities Between Servant Leadership and Transformational Leadership
5. Side by Side Comparison – Servant Leadership vs Transformational Leadership in Tabular Form
6. Summary

What is Servant Leadership?

The main concept behind Servant Leadership is that leaders are to serve people.  Thus, servant leaders share authority, give priority to the needs of employees and provides maximum support to develop, and perform as much as possible. Due to this behaviour, employees experience higher levels of trust in their managers, and they will be free to suggest their own ideas for the betterment of the organization and individual growth.

Moreover, a servant leader focuses on the growth of the communities to which he belongs. He or she also has no interest in accumulating power and autonomy.


Below are the most common characteristics of Servant Leadership

  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Healing
  • Persuasion
  • Conceptualization
  • Foresight
  • Stewardship
  • Awareness
  • Building community
  • Commitment for the people

What is Transformational Leadership?

The main concept behind transformational leadership is to encourage, inspire and motivate people to get into the next level of their career. It will help to make the future of the organization successful. Furthermore, transformational leadership is considered as a process where “leaders and their followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation”.

Transformational leaders inspire and motivate their workforce without controlling. Moreover, they trust trained employees to be empowered, to take authority over decisions in their assigned tasks. Also, this is a management style that gives employees enough space to be creative and proactive and find new solutions to prevailing issues.


  • Demonstrates moral standards within the organization and lure others to follow them.
  • Nurtures an ethical work station with clear values, priorities and standards
  • Also creates organizational culture by encouraging employees to move forward with an open mindset
  • More attention on authenticity, assistance and open communication
  • Facilitates training but allowing employees to make decisions their own decisions and take authority of tasks

What are the Similarities Between Servant Leadership and Transformational Leadership?

  • Both servant and transformational leadership styles are people-oriented.
  • They emphasize the importance of appreciating and valuing people while empowering, training and promoting them.
  • In fact, both theories are much more equal in emphasising on individualized consideration and appreciation of followers.
  • Moreover, both of these leadership styles are influential.
  • In both these leadership styles, leaders allow their followers to take decisions of their own and work with their capabilities.
  • Moreover, they place a high level of trust for their employees.

What is the Difference Between  Servant Leadership and Transformational Leadership?

The leadership focus is the key difference between servant leadership and transformational leadership. In servant leadership, the leader serves their followers while in transformational leadership, the leader gets his followers to engage in and helping organizational objectives.

Transformational leaders are much more dependent on their charismatic characteristics to influence followers, whereas servant leaders influence their followers by the offered service. Transformational leaders believe employees are the driving force of organizational goals, but servant leaders have more concern on individual goals to prevent employees from becoming unhappy and stagnant.

The following table summarizes the difference between servant leadership and transformational leadership.

Summary – Servant Leadership vs Transformational Leadership

Although both leadership styles are people-oriented, their leadership focus is entirely different. The key difference between servant leadership and transformational leadership is that servant leadership concerns the leader serving his followers while transformational leadership concerns leader engaging in and supporting organizational objectives.


1. Kenton, Will. “Servant Leadership.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 17 July 2019, Available here.
2. “Servant Leadership: Putting Your Team First, and Yourself Second.” Leadership Tools and Models From MindTools.com, Available here.
3. “Transformational Leadership: Becoming an Inspirational Leader.” Leadership Training from MindTools.com, Available here.

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1. “1326282” (CC0) via Pixabay