Why leaders need heart power

February, Relationship Wellness Month

In the month of February our society forces us to think about love and relationships. Valentine’s day is all about heart. Today I want to show you that leadership should also be about heart. Leading from the heart is the best way to lead businesses and organizations. 

Leading from the heart can make the difference between success and mediocrity. The Center for Creative Leadership in their study of empathy in the workplace  concluded that the ability to care for and understand what others are feeling is a statistically significant factor differentiating the very best leaders from the mediocre ones. 

Heart Power

I have been reading extensively about the scientific basis explaining how and why the heart affects mental clarity, creativity, emotional balance and personal effectiveness. 

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 around the heart. Recent studies have found that the coherence of the heart brain’s rhythms can change the effectiveness of the thinking head brain, often dramatically. The Heart Math organization reports extensive research and insight into the "little brain" in our hearts.

All this new information tells us that unless we can feel values and goals deeply in our hearts, we can’t live them. It is the heart, not the head, that plays a dominant role in moving us to excel. The brain in your heart searches for opportunities to grow and learn. It functions as a meaningful radar for uncovering significant opportunities.

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 does heart power work

People are motivated when their hearts are touched. When they can find meaning and purpose. 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.

Think about the best leaders you remember the most. What is remarkable about them? Usually they found a way to bind their hearts to their people’s hearts. They took relationships to heart.

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 is 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. . . . 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. . .  . 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." 

Motivation drives performance. Inspired motivation drives individuals to connect their day-to-day practices with their guiding beliefs. It moves them to do the right things in the face of obstacles.  

Next week I will tell you how you can lead with your heart. Meanwhile, I invite you on this month dedicated to relationships and love to start a journey of the heart. Start creating better relationships and businesses by using the amazing power of the heart.

For your reflection. . .

What stops you from living and leading from your heart? What people in your live used the power of their hearts to inspire you?  Share your comments with us.

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