The Best Inspired Leadership Strategy of 2012
Vision comes alive when everyone sees where his or her contribution makes a difference. ~ Ken Blanchard
Lead with Heart.
It’s rarely heard of in business. However, it is a changing perception that will continue to be more accepted and acted upon in 2012 and beyond. With a great focus on profits and progress, leadership is often about achieving success mindfully at any price while making sure the customer is satisfied in the process. With uncompromising focus on money and movement of products and services, quite often leader and employee development gets left behind.
There is a heart centered movement underway to bring leader and people development more to the forefront of business. Leading with Heart helps bridge the gap between Leader/Team understanding, function, and communication.
This article focuses on making the Leader more effective from the Inside Out.
That is the essence of Leading with Heart.
There are three very important needs every team member, including the Leader, must have fulfilled in the workplace or problems begin to surface.
To Lead with Heart, Leaders need to understand and internalize meeting these three needs.
First, people must Grow. They must be allowed to blossom and expand.
Second, people must be Heard. They need to contribute something positive to the cause.
Third, their contributions must be Valued. What they do needs to be worthwhile and appreciated by the Leader.
There are no ways around these three needs.
Leaders who struggle with their teams are usually failing them in one or more of these areas.
Leading with Heart is a natural extension of our personal lives. We love the people closest to us, especially our family. We want to see them do well, grow into good people who contribute to society, become all they can be, even when they make mistakes. We forgive them and encourage them to learn from adversity and try again.
Leading with Heart works in the same fashion. This positive mindset provides growth by encouraging one’s natural abilities and talents. It allows people to be heard because input is asked for and acknowledged often. It values people’s contributions, even if they are sub standard, by showing them how to learn, improve, and take responsibility for their actions or lack thereof.
Leadership with Heart continues to provide individuals and teams ample opportunities to grow and make a positive contribution both professionally and personally while simultaneously meeting the expectations of the organization.
Leading with Heart can extinguish the fires and eliminate the roots of three Big Leadership issues that keep leaders from working smarter with their teams and functioning at high levels:
Issue #1 – Leaders need to be Right – Example – I know what to do and that’s that! Let’s do it this way! Don’t ask questions! We don’t have time! Being right often eliminates listening to others and considering opinions, even if they are not used later.
Heart Leader Solution – knowing that there is no Right or Wrong, ask for input on the most effective ways to get to the goal or destination. Consider all options. Come to a consensus with the team on which method they feel is the best. Often the Leader has final say. Acknowledgment of others is very important in meeting their basic needs.
Issue #2 – Leaders need to be in Control – Example – To be successful, it HAS to go this way! Do as I say! I know how it’s done! I want you to do this! Control or the perception of control is the most prevalent problem in business today. Being in control keeps people’s contributions and the energy they put into them from being valued and held in any esteem.
Heart Leader Solution – To give people the opportunity to perform up to their capabilities, Trust from the Heart is required. Allow people to contribute from their talent base and without supervision, directing them only to ask questions and provide guidance when needed. If they are not capable, that is a signal to find a task that better suits their strengths.
Issue #3 – Leaders need to Successful at all costs – Example – My job depends on it! If I’m not successful, I’ll be the one looking for work! We have to get this done now! Success is expected, acceptable, and necessary as long as it does not injure another person in the process. Long hours, overtime, and extra effort are all required to get the job done. It’s part of the process of success. However, most of the time success is obtained at the expense of the team’s mental and physical health. The team often feels slighted for this extra effort even though they might have been compensated financially. It takes an emotional toll on them.
Heart Leader Solution – find ways to give that extra time or effort back to the team. Offer membership to a gym, a mental health afternoon off (and call it that), time to get away from the office as a team for something fun and non-work related, or a reward such as a small gift card to a favorite shop for going the extra mile.
The Heart Leader understands taking extra time and effort from the team mentally, emotionally, or physically must be given back to restore its balance. The Heart Leader finds small ways to return that time and effort.
It’s tough in today’s business environment to meet the needs of the team and keep them around for the long haul.
Leading with Heart keeps people engaged and involved in the game because it meets their human needs in the workplace.
Commit to being a Leader with Heart in 2012 and be on the cusp of a rapidly evolving Leadership Model that will give you and your team a distinct advantage in the coming year and for the future. You will be glad you did and have a better functioning team because of it.