What is ‘The Heart of the Servant?’  ‘Heart’ comes from the French word ‘Couer’ which is also the root of the English word ‘Courage.’  So in a real way, to have ‘heart’ is also to have ‘courage.’  Symbolically, our heart is also that which enables us to experience compassion, love, empathy, hope and sensitivity.

Our ‘heart’ offers a balance to our ‘head’ and allows us to blend the objective way we need to work in order to be effective with a subjective way of being so that we can serve others with a caring, empathic, compassionate, loving and welcoming attitude [in an organization, the ‘others’ include both our ‘internal’ and ‘external’ customers/stakeholders].

If you listen closely, Gentle Reader, you will hear folks say, over and over again, that they choose to return to certain businesses because of the feeling of warmth and welcoming they experience in addition to the high quality of service they receive.  Within an organization with ‘heart’ you hear folks talking about how great it is to work with so-and-so (seldom, if ever, do you hear folks speaking about ‘who they work for’).

Many years ago I had the privilege, on a number of occasions, of visiting a company that was consistently ranked as one of the 10 best to work for in America.  During one of those visits I was wandering around when I turned a corner and there stood the President; he was talking with a person who by his dress worked ‘on the floor.’  The President looked up saw me, smiled and reached out his hand to me.  After we greeted one another he said, ‘Richard, I would like you to meet______we work together.’  He then continued, ‘______helps me be a good President for he helps hold me accountable for my word.’  ______then turned to me, shook my hand and said, ‘Yes I do and ______supports me and helps hold me accountable for my work.’  The warmth, the genuine caring, the support and the power of their relationship came rushing forth during this brief exchange.  ‘Trust, Care, Commitment and Serving’ were the words that I wrote down later.

At that time there were 2,000 plus employees in this company and this story was ‘in the norm;’ it was not unique.  Stories reveal the true character – the heart and the head – of organizations and its members.  If you want to know what resides within the heart of an organization listen to the stories being told – by those within and by those without.

The ‘Heart’ feeds, nourishes and supports the person and the organization (like Greenleaf, I believe that organizations are organic – living entities).  Gentle Reader, how healthy is your heart and how healthy is your organization’s heart?

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