Leading with HEART
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Leading with HEART

Curious about what executives are looking for when they hire leaders nowadays, I leafed through some Classified Ads. I was especially curious to see whether organizations are recruiting applicants strong on customer orientation, empathy, employee engagement and team leadership skills. I did see a few ads seeking people with these attributes. But more often, the requirements included ‘tough, decisive, hard-nosed, financially savvy, and results-driven.’

Seems to me that many executives still value leaders who lead with their heads, not their hearts. They put business before benevolence. And they miss out on the many benefits of compassionate leaders in action. Fortunately, it’s not either-or. To me, the leader’s job competencies should include both. And I believe we’re moving in that direction. Many executive teams are realizing the extraordinary value of a compassionate style– and leading with feelings.

I could spell out these benefits, but I bet you know them!

Quick Challenge!

Now, Rate Yourself!
Here is a list of what I see as the characteristics of a compassionate leader—one who leads with HEART. Rate yourself. And, for each characteristic that you believe is true of you, jot down one very concrete example of when you actually demonstrated this (Who? What? Where? And when?).  Click here for the Leading with Heart Self-Check.

How did you do?
If you see room for improvement, how about identifying a colleague whom you would score high and ask for some confidential coaching. And learn more about the Language of Caring® for you and your team. Most of the characteristics of compassionate leaders are learnable. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Yes, but….
Are you thinking, “Will being more compassionate mean I’ll get soft and have to back away from hard decisions and an outcomes focus?” Absolutely not. Compassionate doesn’t mean weak. It’s about caring even when you need to be authoritative, analytical, and hard-nosed.

Will showing more compassion mean I’m a pushover? Sometimes, your compassion might lead you to alter your actions or expectations. That’s a good thing to do if your heart tells you it’s important. And also, when you do have tough messages to communicate or boundaries you need to set, you can still do that—with caring. You can be tough minded and tenderhearted at the same time.

And the compassionate leader is.

I welcome your comments below.

Categories: Caring and Empathy, Leadership


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