6 Effective ways to lead with your heart

Great leaders know. . .

that head and heart need to work together.  Leaders are in an ideal position to bring compassion, purpose, and values back into the workplace. To use the power of the heart for inspiration and connection.   

By putting people first, and by encouraging and motivating employees, there will be unlimited wells of creativity, initiative, and productivity.  You will be amazed and the psychological and financial rewards your company and the people who work within it will achieve. Here are 6 effective ways to show you how you can lead with the heart.

1. Listen to your heart. 

The true depths of people's values and morals live deep in the heart. Take a look inside – How do you feel? What do you see? What are you key values? (honesty, kindness, integrity ….) What is your vision for life and work? What kind of world do you want to live in and co-create? What kind of life, work environment and relationships do you want to have/create?  Where would you like to see or make a difference? 

Many leaders base their actions on what others say and not on what is inside them. When they do this, they can have regrets because they didn't stand for what they believed in their heart was the right thing for them to do. If you listen to your heart, it will be easier to follow your heart and live accordingly. You will be creating a mission and a vision you and others can follow.

2. Value connectedness.

Understand that everything is connected. What you do for others, the service and contributions you make, will ultimately serve the common good.  What makes you feel good, connected, and involved? 

Business is built on a foundation of strong relationships both inside and outside the organization. This makes two-way communication and true dialogue with your people critically important. Leading from the heart is about relating, having conversations, working together, caring for the people you lead.

3. Create positive relationships.

Leadership is a relationship. You can affect how positive or negative is the environment in your workplace by the way you create relationships. Encouragement, positive words, being available, listening, getting to know your people, providing excellent service, are some of the ways positive relationships are created and sustained.

4. Build Trust.

Relationships don’t flourish without trust. Trust invites participation, which is so important for innovation and productivity. Most employees simply need to be invited to participate and then positively reinforced when they do. However, employee participation only works in an environment of complete and unconditional trust. 

Some ways to build trust include: being trustworthy, trusting others, open communication, honesty, consistency, competency, and taking responsibility. 

5. Be Authentic  

Being authentic is living a life that is strongly connected to one’s belief system. It’s being true to yourself, your values, and convictions. Authenticity has to do not only with speaking the truth, but most broadly presenting yourself in a genuine way; being without pretense; taking responsibility for your feelings and actions.  

6. Be caring.

Caring means sincere interest in and genuine concern for others. It includes consideration, compassion, empathy, sympathy, nurturing and altruism. Caring mean seeing humans as the most important resource in an organization, and the resource with the most overall potential. 

After extensive research, the Center for Creative Leadership in their study of Empathy in the workplace concluded that the only statistically significant factor differentiating the very best leaders from the mediocre ones is caring about people. 

Here is an example of how caring results in a win-win for everyone. Care enough to help workers balance their lives on the job and off. The result will be a healthy environment with less stress, much higher productivity, and much lower employee turnover. That is a sure recipe for a better bottom line.

Remember. . .

If you as a leader treat your followers with caring behaviors such as appreciation, understanding, courtesy, attention, loyalty and encouragement, you will be rewarded with cooperative and supportive behavior in return. 

When you lead with your heart, others are sure to be touched, both inside and outside the organization. Putting people first is the key to unleashing the full power and creativity of employee teams, superior customer service, strengthened client relations, and closer and more productive relationships with vendors and suppliers.

One person can make all the difference in the world.  I invite you this upcoming San Valentine’s day to start a journey of the heart.  Then, continue to create better relationships and business practices throughout the year by using the amazing power of the heart.

Start leading with your heart today!

Your turn. . .

What stops you from living and leading from your heart? What are some steps you can take right now to start leading from your heart?  Share your comments with us.

P.S. My intensive and practical Leading Through Conversations program—which is based on a revolutionary neuroscience model of how brains and hearts interact—enables owners, boards, and senior executives to move from losing money, people, and time due to communication gone wrong to having more engagement and less time lost to conflicts and inefficiencies. You will learn how to foster productive dialogue both in meetings and in other difficult interactions. By developing your dialogue and heart connection skills you will be a more effective leader: the kind this century demands!