by Anthony Middlebrooks, Scott J. Allen, Mindy S. McNutt and James L. Morrison
Designing a culture of care significantly impacts both individual and organizational performance. Organizations that embrace caring in the workplace involve leaders and coworkers who provide support and empathy for one another; foster connections and conversations among employees; avoid blame, forgive mistakes and use them as teachable moments; have a positive workplace; and focus on individual and team strengths.
The concept of care is rooted in the values, intentions, and motivations of leaders and followers. Many of the practices in transformational and authentic leadership further contribute to a culture that cares.
Leading with service, and the approach of servant leadership, comprises one of the most impactful approaches to designing a culture that cares. While people have been serving others for millennia, leading with service is more complex than helping or fixing.
Numerous attributes characterize the servant leader, including listening, empathy, healing, awareness, foresight, stewardship, building community, and a commitment to the growth of others. Valuing people and caring are at the heart of the servant leader.
Designing a culture that cares is really about making a positive social difference, whether in your organization, community, or larger world. Many strategies, approaches, and venues exist for maximizing your impact, such as those related to Encouraging the Heart of others or the seven “C” values that comprise the Social Change Model of Leadership Development.
Many of today’s organizations are engaged with local, national, and international community projects where giving back and assisting others is a primary end goal. This chapter includes suggestions for numerous types of opportunities for service to community as well as a number of organizations that provide those opportunities.