Servant Leadership Snapshot
Devereux’s talented and hard-working team members lead to serve, while inspiring others to learn and grow. Our “Servant Leadership Snapshot” series shines a light on exemplary servant leaders across our organization who empower all those around them to be their best selves. Look below to read features written by these compassionate collaborators as they help their teams, programs, departments and centers reach even greater heights through Servant Leadership.
Kevin Dineen, Registered Nurse
Center/office location: Devereux New York CARES/Mt. Kisco, New York
Length of service: April 2022
How do you embed an inclusive, Servant Leadership mindset into your daily processes?
In my position as one of the school nurses (part-time) at the Devereux New York Center for Autism Research and Education Services (CARES), my primary role is to ensure the care and well-being of our students, as well as our staff. The process by which I embed an inclusive Servant Leadership perspective is by collaborating with team members and being an active listener. As a nurse, I rely on the information and observations of staff concerning a student who may be ill or experiencing a medical situation. I couple that input with my medical training and experience to make an informed assessment and determine a course of action. It is a collaborative process with the goal of providing the best possible care for our student body. I am continually amazed and grateful for this team.
How do you inspire others to embrace Servant Leadership practices?
Having joined Devereux after 26 years in law enforcement, and 40 years as a nurse, I like to believe I have some experience working with, and for, others. I was first exposed to the Servant Leadership model during a labor studies program while with the New York Police Department.
At CARES, I try to inspire my colleagues by being someone who listens with his ears, as well as his heart. By practicing and implementing this skill, team members can collaborate effectively and find solutions to challenges. I also try to inspire teammates by demonstrating an attitude of appreciation for all they do to make this organization a success, as well as exhibiting encouragement when we experience “tough days.”
Share an example or story of how you demonstrated compassion or delivered quality customer service at your center.
It is difficult to point to one example of delivering compassion or quality customer care, but I can say that every Thursday morning (I am the Thursday and Friday nurse), when I arrive for work, I try to bring the best of myself with an optimistic, upbeat attitude. I say “good morning” to everyone with a smile and a joyful demeanor. I arrive understanding that staff have worked three days already and may be tired or stressed, and I remind them that “today is a new day.” I convey empathy and understanding, as well as encouragement. On occasional Fridays, I like to bring doughnuts to lift their spirits. (I am a nurse, not a nutritionist.) Before my day begins, I review notes from the previous three days of my two amazing nurse colleagues, Peggy and Steve, and I mentally prepare for my shift.
In conclusion, it is a privilege to be part of the Devereux family and provide the best possible care and support for the individuals we serve and their families. I believe it is due in large part to the Servant Leadership model in which we inspire, support and collaborate. It is a circular process by which at times we lead others, and other times, we are led and nurtured. When each individual employee feels they are valued and appreciated, they are motivated to be their best, and their success impacts the success of the organization. The cohesive spirit at CARES is cultivated by the leadership of Cindy Alterson and Stacey Coburn who support our staff and encourage a symbiotic work atmosphere. Every time I clock out and head home, I leave with a full heart, hoping and believing I helped make someone’s day a little better, and grateful I have the opportunity to work with awesome colleagues. What more could one ask for in life?
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