Even with leaders, loyalty and respect are earned, not given. It’s the leader’s emotional intelligence skills determining their ability to influence and inspire others.
Here’s a perspective using the head and the heart. Purpose and mission are important to both the head and heart leaders, but the day-to-day approach is stark in contrast.
When someone leads from the head, there’s an intellectual process that seems quite rational and reasonable. As long as everything is running smoothly, this approach works well.
However, when there’s stress and tension, then the ego steps in looking for causes and someone to blame for the situation. Voices and tensions are raised in reaction to the chaos. It’s like the lights were shut off as the darkness spreads throughout affecting anyone involved, even on the periphery.
Once the problem is resolved, outer appearances show that everything is back to normal. However, a serious toll will have been taken, leaving anger and humiliation to fester in the wake. Things will have been said and done that many will carry as silent wounds.
When someone is allowing the head to rule during those stressful times, as things appear to be going desperately wrong, the ego is like a general involved in a bloody battle. All civility is tossed aside in favor of getting the job done. It’s a fear-based environment and everyone dreads being caught in the crossfire.
A heart-centered leader sees the people rather than the task as the number one priority. This leader will be focused on bringing out the best in people in all circumstances. Relationships are built based on respect, growth, cooperation and communication.
When leading from the heart, time is set aside to understand what’s important to each individual in terms of their:
- Future aspirations
The loyal union is predicated on helping each other get what they want.
Should a tense situation arise, rather than looking for a culprit, people will respond to the immediate needs while looking for the learning to be gained from the experience. Instead of making accusations, ways to resolve the situation are found and changes are made to reduce the likelihood of a re-occurrence.
At the core of the heart-centered leadership is preservation of each individual’s value to the team, the organization. When leaders take the time to view their staff from different perspectives, particularly personally, they will see strengths and commitment beyond their imaginings.
The proof of this is seen in each episode of Undercover Boss. The CEO and their directors wonder how they can improve performance. It’s decided the CEO will go undercover.
Always in disguise, the new worker experiences great difficulty doing any of the jobs they are given. Suddenly at least 2 things become obvious to the boss:
- The employees are working at maximum capacity
- Most of the people, despite personal challenges, are performing amazingly well.
It’s only when these leaders have some heartfelt moments with some individuals that they recognize the extraordinary people working in their companies. Later the CEO institutes programs or assistance.
In each case, the CEO found the heart of their organization by engaging with each employee as a peer with something to learn from them. Judgments were set aside in pursuit of understanding.
Although their individual contribution won’t show up on the spreadsheet, the personal pride of the workers performing to the best of their abilities shone through in the personal interactions with the undercover boss.
Each one ended up in tears when they were finally recognized and appreciated for their value to the organization. Leading from the heart may take more time, but the outcomes are well worth the effort.
Leading from the heart may take more time, but the outcomes are well worth the effort. ~Susan Bagyura Tweet this!
What other thoughts do you have about leading from the heart? Please share your thoughts below.