The Heartbeats of Servant Leadership

By: Mary Anna Rodabaugh in Business Storytelling
on November 22nd, 2021

Leading with love in the workplace matters. It is authentic, raw, true, and takes courage and vulnerability. This doesn’t mean wearing your emotions on your sleeve at all times or wallowing in your shortcomings to foster connections in the workplace. It simply means caring about those you work with on a deeper level.

“Everyone in my workplace cares about what each of us carries in our lives and supports one another with those burdens,” says Yolanda Knight, former director of client relations and integrator at Round Table Companies. “We give one another grace and know that it will be reciprocated in the future.”

That is what servant leadership is all about.

The past two years have been a time like no other. We’ve been inspired to care for one another at new and heightened levels thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. How does this abundance of compassion authentically translate into the office?

“The power of a servant leadership mindset actually helps businesses thrive because it puts people first. ”

Unlocking Servant Leadership

Yolanda shares three keys to unlocking servant leadership. The first key is listening.

“There is so much power in how we listen,” says Yolanda. “It is an opportunity to hold space for the person speaking, get in touch with our inner voice, and seek to understand what the person’s mind, body, and spirit are communicating.”

This takes practice. Often, we find ourselves listening and preparing a response, thinking that this helps the other party feel we are engaged and immersed in the discussion. In reality, the best thing we can do is pause, listen, and wait a few beats before presenting a question or comment.

“For example, each of our clients has a unique journey with us, whether that’s writing a book or uncovering new language on how to share their story with the world. We listen to who they are and understand where they want to go.”

The next key to unlocking the heart of servant leadership is empathy. Empathy is an awareness of others’ emotions. Yolanda says everyone needs to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirit. We must assume everyone comes to the Table with good intentions, no matter what they may be going through.

Learn to lead with your heart!

The third key is community-building. Servant leadership creates a ripple effect, touching not only the lives of those you come into direct contact with, but also the lives of those you might never even meet. RTC clients are not just business transactions with great stories. They are living, breathing people who experience pain and joy. Recognizing the power of the human spirit, RTC strives to let clients know when we're thinking of them, expressing that thoughtfulness with gifts, whether that means a card, a message, or something more tangible.

Why Servant Leadership Is Important

Why does leading with heart matter?

“Yes, businesses need revenue to keep the lights on and pay their employees, but that doesn’t mean we have to be ruthless in business. The power of a servant leadership mindset actually helps businesses thrive because it puts people first. It certainly works at our company.”

Leading with service, acting authentically, and staying true to our hearts are catalysts for things falling into place as they should. Genuine intention promotes desired action. Serving others’ needs is an essential component of servant leadership. And while no one person’s needs are more important than another’s, each individual’s needs are more important than the organization as a whole.

After all, what do you have to lose?

Read more about servant leadership