Leadership is service. Service is leadership.
In today's world, servant leadership is two-sided. First, and more traditionally, you must authentically serve your team by meeting their needs so they can perform at peak levels. There is plenty written on this side of servant leadership like this model of Passionate Performance.
The second, less discussed side of great servant leaders is particularly valued by millennial workers. The first side serves your employee internally, whereas the second side serves the community externally. This is not about playing Uncle Sam and pointing your finger to direct your team to serve others. This is about you, the leader, leading from with time in the community.
Servant leaders serve the community because it is the right thing to do. If they get some positive exposure and a brand boost as a by-product, that's a bonus but never the driving motivation.
Great servant leaders engage their teams in identifying a compelling cause in the community to rally around. For example, hunger is a common cause across all cities. One out of four kids -- and one out of six of the general population -- are food insecure. This means that they can't always count on three nutritious meals a day throughout the year.
Surprisingly, you and I are the face of hunger. One of the largest and best run food banks in the country is the North Texas Food Bank. They state that most of households they serve have at least one member who is currently working or was recently employed. They are the working poor among us who struggle each day to provide life's necessities. So don't be surprised if you serve a local food pantry that has been serving one of your employees.
Whether you have a team building competition to see who can pack the most meals for the hungry, supporting victims of domestic violence or brightening the day of terminally ill patients, service in the community separates great servant leaders from those who are just really good managers.
The benefits are felt in the community, but also are revealed back on the job with improved team performance.