Leading With the Heart

One of my favorite leadership topics to discuss is…

Leading with the heart!

Not just any heart, but a heart that is filled with positivity, passion, purpose, care, and love… for what you do, who you do it with, and who you do it for.

Several weeks back I talked about the human-side of leadership and why it is so powerful.

Leading with the heart gets to the core of the human-side of leadership.

As you read this you may have a leader who has had an impact on your life come to mind or… you may see a picture of yourself in your mind and how you would like to lead.

The academic approach to leadership is often focused on strategy, distinction, and beating the competition.


But let’s talk about the leader who values connectedness, cares, creates positive relationships, and builds an unshakeable foundation of trust.

When you lead with your heart you allow people to work outside their comfort zone, fail, and struggle all the while having the ability to coach them because they trust you and they are good with leaning on you for help.

Not only that… they will fight for you and your team’s purpose. You are not just telling them they are a part of something bigger than themselves… you are helping create and drive the culture which they embrace.

Our days are packed with challenges, adversity, unexpected circumstances and wins. All of those, even the positive, pose a challenge to staying focused on leading with the heart.

Until… it becomes our default behavior. A habit.

There is a long list of things that you can do which will help you lead with the heart, but let’s take a look at some that show up every day in our lives-

  • Be authentic: honesty, integrity, and vulnerability are the foundation on which trust is built.
  • Listen: listen to understand and not to be understood. When you ask a question, shut up and take a step back (figuratively if not literally) and listen. Breathe and hear what they are saying as opposed to just waiting for your turn to talk.
  • Be present: take the time especially when you do not have the time. Why? Because you care and they will notice. There will be times when you are at your busiest that they need you most. Great leaders realize that the world does not stop and wait for them to finish what they are working on.
  • Recognize the power of the moment: this goes for your customer as well as your team member… recognize them, include them, appreciate them, support them, and delight them. Remember, every moment matters.
  • Coach: be as passionate about their growth as you are your own. Step alongside them on their journey and inspire them to become more than they may have thought they were capable of.

Scientifically Speaking!

Heartmath Institute shows that when you have a feeling in your heart, it goes to every cell in the body, then outward – and people up to 10 FEET AWAY can sense the feelings transmitted by your heart.

When you embrace leading with the heart and put positivity, love, care, empathy, enthusiasm, passion, and competitiveness in your heart at the start of every single day, your people will feel it.

It is contagious!

So, ask yourself these questions:

  • How did I show up to work today? Was their positive energy in my heart, care, love, anger, concern, frustrations, anxiety?
  • Was I completely honest today?
  • Were my actions and behaviors aligned with my values and beliefs?
  • Did I do what I said I was going to do when I said I was going to and how I said I was going to do it?
  • Did I seize the opportunity to empower a team member by asking for help with something where I did not have an answer?
  • Was I able to seize an opportunity to impact someone today?

Finally… and you know this one by now…

  • Did I do the best I can with what I have to become the best I am capable of becoming and in doing so help us become the best we are capable of becoming?

It is a game-changer… the x-factor that separates you from the other leaders who may want your folks to work or play for them or even buy from them.

But, what exactly does it mean? In sports we always hear things like, “she plays with so much heart” or “that win they grinded out took a lot of heart.”

Playing with heart is something we say when we see athletes leave it all out there and give every ounce of energy which sometimes results in a performance better than anyone expected.

We love athletes and teams that play with heart… they are dialed in with laser-like focus, intrinsically motivated, excited about winning and are resilient toward adversity, failure, and challenging circumstances.

Keep doing great things

This was originally published as a weekly newsletter from Ed Molitor, with The Molitor Group. If you’d like to receive the weekly newsletter, follow this link to subscribe.

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