A business can’t exist without meeting its bottom line.
But neither can a business exist without its people.
You’ve probably been in the room when budget is discussed, and someone diagrams the tension between dollars and people to get to an answer. The thought there is, too low on dollars, and we aren’t investing enough in infrastructure; too low on people and they won’t be engaged and produce.
But this is the wrong question.
What if I told you that in order to make your business perform at higher levels and meet the future more successfully, that you invest in people first, every time?
Can you really lead with heart first and get results?
Many misunderstand and think that leading with heart means taking on a maternal approach to leadership and offering a shoulder to cry on. Not so.
Leading with heart means leading with authenticity and service. It means putting people first. It’s having the ability to build trust and followership through influence and a genuine sense of service (and not because of position or power).
When you lead with heart, you get results.
Putting people first, building bonds, fostering their growth, and supporting their interests results in greater motivation. Your people become more highly engaged, and take more initiative. And this means more productivity. It means your workplace will experience a culture of creativity and fun.
All of this leads to a healthier and happier bottom line.
Instead of leading your decision-making with the dollar sign in front, keep your people as first priority.
What are the characteristics of leading with heart? Here is a short list to help you reconnect head and heart:
1. Lead with authenticity.
If you are attempting to emulate someone else’s style of leadership, or you haven’t taken the time to explore and discover your “inner leader” – your strengths, values, and personal mission – then you aren’t operating at your most powerful and best. Your natural gifts allow you to contribute at highest levels. Don’t play the comparison game – do the work to discover who you are as leader so that you are genuine in your approach to life, work, and relationships.
2. Serve with a sense of purpose.
Develop your why. Why do you do what you do? Why does the business exist? How do you and the business change things for the world? If you haven’t taken the time to answer these questions, then you don’t possess the drive that comes with purpose. Serving with purpose allows you to step outside yourself to connect and see how you can serve others. And that’s heart.
3. Develop capacity for love and caring in the workplace.
This may sound counter-intuitive. Yet, we are talking about the ability to build deep bonds and trust with others. This may sound rather esoteric, but stop to think for a moment: when human beings carry wounds and personal agendas fueled by a disconnect in character or poor experience, they step back, reticent to connect with others at a deep and personal level. This keeps others from trusting them, and staff will serve their leader out of fear and not out of love. If this is the case, motivation and engagement will take a deep dive – and so will your bottom line.
4. Foster growth and empowerment in others.
This may seem to be a given, but stop and think: are you someone who directs others and tells them what to do, or do you practice active listening and asking careful questions so that they can develop their personal growth? Are you someone who finds it difficult to trust others to get the job done, or do you take safe risks that allow others to flex their skills and learn to acquire greater tools?
5. Model and teach collaboration.
It’s easy to get the job done; it’s more challenging to allow others to participate and bring them along in the process. Do you find yourself saying, “Oh, I’ll just do this right now and we can move on,” or do you recognize the value in teaching collaboration? What else might get in your way of modeling collaboration? You’ll want to break through this so that you can create a powerful culture of team.
6. Confront courageously and in love.
Learn to love conflict, and to seek reconciling it wherever possible. Modeling this for your business will allow others to support reconciliation instead of forming silos and carrying the stress of unresolved conflict. Poor communication and conflict account for 87% of all productivity loss in the workplace. Learn to confront with courage and by being tough on issues and tender on people.
7. Celebrate creativity, fun, and initiative.
Are you having fun yet? Do your employees show they are enjoying what they do? If not, you will want to look at fostering a spirit of creativity and allowing more brainstorming and collaboration on areas you have considered closed. Cultivate the ability in yourself and your people to consider various perspectives outside the norm. Remember – the most amazing inventions have been born out of thinking outside the box. And thinking outside the box means stepping outside of it.
If you can master these seven steps, you will truly be on a strong path to leading with the heart. And in a world where technology continues to grow and impact our ability to lift each other up, cultivating the human spirit in love is more important than ever before.
Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.