Servant Leadership in Speech Pathology

As speech pathology business owners, we recognise that effective leadership is essential for growth. One leadership approach that resonates strongly with our profession is servant leadership. Servant leadership focuses on serving others and fostering collaboration. Servant leadership has the power to empower your team, enhance team retention, and increase productivity.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of servant leadership, its benefits in speech pathology, and how it can positively impact your practice.

Understanding Servant Leadership

Servant leadership in speech pathology is based on Robert K. Greenleaf’s writings. It emphasises putting others first, empowering individuals, fostering collaboration, and leading with empathy.

By embracing servant leadership, we create an environment where clinicians thrive. Servant leadership makes your team feel valued leading to better team retention and client outcomes. 

Leadership is not about a having a “title” or “boss status”. It is humbly accepting the responsibility that comes with helping others fulfill their needs and aspirations in the workplace.

Empowering Clinicians

When we create a supportive environment that encourages autonomy and growth, our team members feel empowered. Prioritising your team’s professional development and quality resources enables them to deliver quality care. Basically, look after your team and they look after your clients. This is how you grow your business successfully. Making your business about how much money you can make devalues the work that we do.  Of course, as a private practice, you need to make profits. As a servant leader, it is not your highest priority. This has a powerful effect on the team because you are demonstrating that your workplace is about service, not entitlement.  

Moreover, servant leaders actively share their expertise and knowledge. They utilise their time to foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement. This is another form of service. Servant leaders give quality time to elevate their team’s clinical skills, nurture confidence, and inspire a sense of fulfillment. A leader who is “too busy” to answer team questions is not demonstrating servant leadership behaviours. Creating scheduled meeting rhythms with your team helps you serve their needs, as well as build boundaries for your time to work on your business goals.

Ultimately, making time for your team benefits individual clinicians and contributes to the overall success and excellence of your speech pathology private practice.

Enhancing Client-Centered Care

Speech pathology servant leaders value active listening, team collaboration, and practice cultural sensitivity. These behaviours recognise the significance of team input and individualised well-being check-ins.

Speech pathology private practices need an environment where client-centered care is front of mind. When your behaviour with your team reflects service, it helps them thrive. This leads to improved performance, improved outcomes, and enhanced client retention.

Cultivating Collaboration and Teamwork

Another benefit of servant leadership in speech pathology is team psychological safety. Psychological safety and trust foster a collaborative workplace.  Research in business management states that psychological safety leads to job satisfaction, team engagement, and improved team retention.  Servant leaders in speech pathology recognise, encourage and promote open communication at an individual and team level.

Overcoming Challenges

In speech pathology, servant leadership balances business management with team support and mentorship.

To amplify your servant leadership behaviours, it is important that you practice self-care so you are better able to regulate your emotions. This is especially important when you are facing recruitment challenges, NDIA audits, or fluctuations in client attendance. Start with you! Daily practices such as good sleep hygiene, gratitude journaling, yoga, pilates, breathwork and qi-gong help to nourish you spiritually. Feeling mindful and centred during your work day will help you become a more present, servant leader. Only an empowered leader can effectively lead their team.

Contact Business Speechie Talk today to learn more about our values-driven approach and the difference servant leadership can make in your speech pathology journey.

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