What is the most powerful single ingredient that connects leaders with others and enhances their influence?
Think about the leaders you remember the most. Why do they come to your mind? What is remarkable about them? Usually they found a way to gain people’s hearts because they took relationships to heart. Heart power is the most powerful ingredient of great leadership!
What motivates people.
People are motivated when their hearts are touched. When their leader, instead of trying to push them to do things, incorporates them in an attitude of partnership. When they feel inspired. When the core values of the company are in synch with their deep personal values.
Winston Churchill is one name that easily comes to my mind when I think of great leaders. Churchill's speeches were a great inspiration to the embattled British. His first speech as prime minister was famous and a fine example on how to motivate by connecting with people’s heart:
“I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, What is our policy? I will say; It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy." You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory - victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."
WOW! Many feel this was the speech that made the biggest difference in helping the British and Allied forces win the war. Motivation drives performance. Inspired motivation drives individuals to connect their day-to-day practices with their guiding beliefs, and to do the right things in the face of obstacles.
What is heart power
I have been study extensively about the scientific basis that explain how and why the heart affects mental clarity, creativity, emotional balance and personal effectiveness, as well as connecting with others.
In the 1990’s, scientists in the emerging field of neurocardiology discovered we have a true brain in our heart, which acts independently of the head. With more than 40,000 nerve cells and a complex network of neurotransmitters, it is very powerful.
The electrical energy in the heart creates an incredible powerful magnetic field. Recent studies have found that the coherence of the heart brain’s rhythms can change the effectiveness of the thinking brain, often dramatically.
The Heart Math organization reports extensive research and insight into the "little brain" in our hearts. They have a very short video (Less than 2 minutes) about the Science of the Hear that explains the power of the heart beautifully. Take a moment to watch it!
Leaders need to better learn how to understand this heart power and to lead from the heart. Harvard Professor, author, and researcher Bill George says:
“The best leaders are not the "follow me over the hill" type, rather, they're the people who lead from the heart as well as the head, and whose leadership style springs from their fundamental character and values. It is the leaders that empower others and create leaders that are the most successful and profitable.”
How to lead with your heart
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? Then share what you truly value.
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? Leading from the heart is about relating, working together, caring for the people you lead.
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.
Build Trust. Relationships don’t flourish without trust. Some ways to build trust include: being trustworthy, trusting others, open communication, honesty, consistency, competency, and taking responsibility.
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.
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 recently concluded that the only statistically significant factor differentiating the very best leaders from the mediocre ones is caring about people. Do you care?
Remember. . .
Caring for others is the power of the heart! If you treat your followers, and your family members, with caring behaviors such as appreciation, understanding, courtesy, attention, loyalty and encouragement, you will be rewarded with cooperative and supportive behavior in return.
One area where a lot of heart is needed is when there needs to bed changes. Check out my article: “The Human Factor in the Change Equation”