L. Darryl Armstrong
Those who lead with a “Servant’s Heart” show their humanity
Employees Want to See Your Humanity
492 words - 3 minute read
Remember when we thought all leaders were to be stoic, fearless, and had all the answers?
I did believe this as a young manager. I was wrong.
Mr. David Grossman, a thought-leader in human dynamics and leadership, emphasizes the need to lead with the heart; we refer to this as the “Servant’s Heart,” this is the person who engages their employees and clients with the intent to be human. When you dare to be vulnerable —you invite trust and respect from your employees.
If the pandemic taught us one thing, we’re all human. We all face challenges, personal and professional.
However, we can work through things together by employing collaborative, informed consent. Collaborative Informed Consent is when we all agree to be informed and educated before we become engaged in solving a problem.
I realized mid-way into my career that no one person has all the answers.
When my federal career began in the 1970s, I was often “concerned” as a 20ish manager to admit what I didn’t know.
The problem was I didn’t know what I didn’t know!
I thought my team expected me to be stoic and fearless and have all the answers. Over the years, what I found to be accurate as I progressed into the executive world was my fellow executives put on their pants the same way I did, one pant leg at a time, and had days of insecurity as much as I did. Some were even more insecure than I was.
One of my mentors drove the point home one day when it came to using collaboration with a “Servant’s Heart” to reach a solution.
He was the senior executive I reported to at the time, with whom I held great respect, and I thought he had all the answers.
He sat us “younger” guys down and said, “I need help; how would you propose we solve this problem? And let’s approach our solutions as to what is in the best interest of our employees.”
I was intrigued; I thought he knew all the answers and that we were to be good Lieutenants and carry out his orders.
The team collaborated over several days, brought our ideas back to him, and he actively listened to what we offered carefully. Each time he asked for clarification, was it in the best interest of the employees and the organization?
Eventually, we solved that problem, and the senior executive gave his team credit.
As I matured, I came to understand better and appreciate the importance of leading with the “Servant’s Heart” and asking for help. Even the best of the best managers need help now and then.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 ESV