The workplace environment has undergone dramatic shifts over the past decade. However, everything changed significantly in 2020 and continues to evolve. Generational differences in perceptions of the modern work environment along with technology advances has create challenging situations for some leaders but opportunities for others. What I see as relevant in today’s business environment is transformational leadership that is based on a heart-centered approach.
Heart-centered leadership is a leadership style that focuses on the emotional well-being and personal growth of team members. This style of leadership prioritizes empathy, compassion, and understanding, and encourages open communication and collaboration. Heart-centered leaders seek to create a positive and supportive work environment, and strive to create meaningful connections with their team members. This style of leadership is often associated with transformational leadership, as it emphasizes the importance of personal development and encourages team members to reach their full potential.
Examples of a heart centered approach include:
- Allowing your employees to fail. A leader needs to be comfortable in letting go and allowing their team members to attempt tasks that they have not performed previously. Even if the employee fails, as long as you guide them to acknowledging the point of failure and learning from it, they can grow and be better next time. Perhaps they will even knock it out of the park for you on the next attempt
- Taking the time to listen. The vast majority of employees are well intended. They will bring to you their concerns of how they feel operations could be improved. At times, their lack of experience will show and you may not agree with their perceptions. However, quite often, a team member will have a great idea worthy of experimentation. But this will never happen if a leader does not take the time to listen to employees and their concerns. It is challenging with time demands but leaders are highly appreciated by their team when they feel they are heard
- Open and transparent communication as to the health of the company. This can feel daunting as some information can feel scary to share. But think about it. Employees have all kinds of discussions with each other and will start speculating as to any sign of trouble. Often, this speculation leads to highly negative perceptions that are not warranted. It’s better to get in front of it by communicating the state of affairs openly in a transparent manner. Also, how you plan to address any challenges and what is expected from the team to overcome. It is always good to point out positive developments as well. It provides optimism and a positive mindset to perform the work that needs to be done
- Leading with love rather than fear. An old school approach is to lead by fear. I will admit, fear can be a driver for motivating staff but it is short-lived. It is not sustainable and any motivation will eventually, sooner rather than later turn to dissatisfaction, resentment and depression. This hinders productivity in the long run. Leading from the heart, with a sense of love and caring is sustainable. It is conducive to building productivity over the long-term. You may be surprised how willing your employees are to step up and work extra hard when duty calls, time and time again. There is a feeling of reciprocation that is demonstrated and a team can flourish over the long-term as team coherence is achieved through love
A heart-centered approach works and can lead to great transformational success in your employees and your entire organization. I know from firsthand experience. I led my staff in this manner and it works. Of course it isn’t easy at times and there will be disappointments. But for sustainable results that lead to ongoing positive outcomes, this approach is highly effective. If you have your doubts, it’s reasonable. But give it a try and see for yourself. It is more important than ever it today’s business environment. Employees have so many options these days. Opportunities abound for how work is conducted and where. Employees will more likely stay with a heart-centered leader than one that is old-school fear based. Turnover is extremely expensive especially when you lose great talent. I encourage anyone that has their doubts to give it a try. You may experience that added benefit of transforming yourself in magnificent ways.