heart to lead

Even though we often act as if it was true, many of the options we face in life, love, and leadership aren’t limited to an either/or choice. Many times, if we look at little deeper, we’ll see a bountiful array of both head and heart opportunities.

One area where an either/or or both/and orientation shows up in stark contrast is in how we work with others, whether it’s at the office, home, in the community.

Some individuals are intensely focused on delivering a finished task. They want results, with everything else of secondary importance. Process, logic, and outcomes are emphasized, feelings and connection not so much. Co-workers are often put off by what appears to be a lack of compassion and empathy.

On the other hand are people who prefer to build camaraderie and esprit de corps. They emphasize people and connection, interested first in employee satisfaction and well-being. Co-workers may have difficulty dealing with their inattention to task.

In contrast to these either/or orientations, sometimes we’re fortunate to work for a boss whho is an  exceptional leader who understands that both results AND relationships are equally important. A boss like this “gets” that all work gets done by and through people.

These rare leaders practice both art and science:  they deliver solid results while also developing and maintaining relationships.

They use their heads to manage and their hearts to lead and do five things exceptionally well.


5 ways to lead from the head and the heart

1.  Practice self-awareness.

Head and heart leaders are in touch with what most people fail to notice about themselves. They ask for feedback, actively listen to what is shared, look for patterns in the advice received, and take action to be better.

2.  Step up to being ethical, authentic, and having a moral center.

These individuals understand that they can do well, show kindness, be principled, and still be as effective as all get-out. They dare to be honorable and kind and encourage those around them to do the same.

3.  Engage the world and perform beyond self-interest.

Head and heart leaders think more of we and less of me. They manage the conflicts and tension between selfish and selfless behavior.

4.  Treat people as ends, not as means.

While interviewing someone for an article about bad bosses, the interviewee told me her boss made her feel like a file cabinet, something utilitarian and easily replaced. Head and heart leaders don’t that kind of leadership legacy.

5.  Envision both what is and what can be.

A vision that engages people’s minds and moves their heart is a powerful combination—one that few individuals can resist. Head and heart leaders use their power with, not over, people. They understand that such a vision motivates people to perform beyond self-interest, seeking the greater good of their group, organization, and/or society.

Thus, far better to conceive of power as consisting in part of the knowledge of when not to use all the power you have. Far better to be one who knows that if you reserve the power not to use all your power, you will lead others far more successfully and well. ~A. Bartlett Giamatti, Former President of Yale University


Nothing too much. ~ inscription at temple of Delphi


We find comfort among those who agree with us, and growth among those who don’t. ~Frank A. Clark

What say you?

Image source before quote:  Pixabay