Servant leadership is increasingly gaining interest inside and outside academia. This article builds and extends current theorizing by describing the process that introduces compassionate love as a practical translation for the need to serve, which was positioned by Greenleaf (Servant leadership: a journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness, Paulist Press, New York, 1977) as the core of servant leadership. This article takes a virtues perspective and shows how servant leadership may encourage a more meaningful and optimal human functioning with a strong sense of community to current-day organizations. In essence, we propose that a leader’s propensity for compassionate love will encourage a virtuous attitude in terms of humility, gratitude, forgiveness and altruism. This virtuous attitude will give rise to servant leadership behavior in terms of empowerment, authenticity, stewardship and providing direction.