Keep on the Right Path through a Servant Leadership Focus

Quote 2From daily desk calendars to leadership posts on LinkedIn, it seems like my professional and personal life is flooded with inspirational quotes, the next best business success book or “must-attend” leadership seminar.. It all can be overwhelming and confusing to choose the right course to ensure ongoing success. For me, staying focused on simple, leadership principles that combine a Servant Leader’s attitude and mindset keeps me grounded. The idea of Servant Leadership is an ancient philosophy, however, Robert Greenleaf coined the phrase nearly 50 years ago. “The servant leader is servant first … It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.” Read more here.


Modern Servant Leader identified top Servant Leader companies that are also on Fortune’s 100 best Companies to Work for list include:


  • SAS (#1 on the list of Best Companies to Work For)
  • Wegmans Food Market (3)
  • com (6)
  • Nugget Market (8)
  • Recreational Equipment (REI) (9)
  • Container Store (21)
  • Whole Foods Market (24)
  • QuikTrip (34)
  • Balfour Beatty Construction (40)
  • TD Industries (45)
  • Aflac (57)
  • Marriott International (71)
  • Nordstrom (74)
  • Men’s Wearhouse (87)
  • CH2M Hill (90)
  • Darden Restaurants (97)
  • Starbucks (98)


As an emerging leader, one might ask if it is possible to be both a servant and a leader? Throughout history, successful leaders have proven you can be both. It is important to implement a leadership style that is conducive to promoting teamwork throughout your organization. In the book “Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business” by Danny Meyer he succinctly stated a philosophy that I have tried to lead by and communicate and he has put into such simple words. “Creating positive, uplifting outcomes for human experiences and human relationships is what counts the most. Business (or leadership) is all about how you make people feel. It is that simple and that hard.” People who get promotions should earn them not just cause they are ambitious, but primarily because they embody the company’s character traits in abundance. At Pathway Health, this is a key to our success and my belief in the long term success of our organization. Danny Meyer list nine character traits in “Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business” which are listed below:


  • Infectious Attitude
  • Self-Awareness
  • Charitable Assumptions
  • Long-Term View of Success
  • Sense of Abundance
  • Trust
  • Approving Patience and Tough Love
  • Not Feeling Threatened by Others
  • Character


The idea of service before leadership not only speaks to my core, but also the mission of Pathway Health. The above traits are not the normal list of items to find in a leader on the surface, but as you dig into them are essential to continued success and the basic principles of servant leadership. Character is a very broad term, but the traits that measure character for Meyer and his team are honor, discipline, consistency, clear communication, courage, wisdom, compassion, flexibility, ability to love and be loved, humility, confidence and positive self-image. The traits will mean different things to different people but in aggregate create a great leader. In order to lead, you need a critical mass of people to that are attracted to your leadership. I observe many seasoned and “up and coming” leaders throughout the post-acute care continuum exemplifying the characteristics of true servant leadership.


Because staff, clients and patients place their trust in Pathway Health, I take the ideals of a servant leadership role to heart – mentoring, building community, and to keep focused on the right path. What are the top servant leader characteristics you and your team focus on for success?


Resources- Modern Servant Leader




Peter Schuna
President and Chief Operating Officer
Pathway Health

Connect with me on LinkedIn.