Leadership Fails that Fails the Heart

Much of leadership training today is like going to an intense personal trainer, who challenges you (loudly) to get uncomfortable, feel the burn, stare down fear, and try harder. To a point this makes sense, I cannot get physically fit if all I do is sit comfortably in my favorite chair, or if I remain afraid and avoid what I fear, then I cannot experience all that is possible. However, leadership development that relies solely on the mind to outsmart, outwork, or out-rationalize so as to grow as a leader is limiting leadership to cognitive development. The end result of this strategy will be growth that plateaus, because it fails to consider the heart of the person.

The elevation of leadership comes from the intentional decision to grow your heart and your mind. Your heart and mind are related, they are connected, and they are in constant communication with each other. The heart feeds the brain information via the bloodstream, and the mind responds by communicating back down through the body via waves and vibrations. The key then to unlocking more potential in terms of leadership ability is to unlock your heart, allowing it to externally express intentions, and internally inform decisions. To remain mind-centric is to block the internal communication that informs decision-making and increases awareness.

Hoping to engage people solely through your mind to implement change fails to transform performance or attitude because it does not connect beyond the intellect. People can hear facts, even see examples, and still resist because you are not connecting with their heart. People wish, hope, desperately desire to be moved into purposeful action, but you will fail to move what you refuse to communicate with.

Without sustained movement, organizations and relationships flutter, like an irregular heartbeat, and quickly wear out and cease to move. No movement equals no growth, and you or your organization will never grow as long as all you ever do is what you did before, which is to repeat vision statements and quote data. Repetition of an action is great way to transform a skill into a habit, but repetition of communication or strategies fails to transform anything into greater brilliance. The heart, when allowed into the equation, and intentionally directed in alignment with core values, connects people and shifts mindsets from passive engagement to active participation that persists and sustains, because it is driven by purpose and not rhetoric.

Leadership is about communicating vision, essentially that means communicating purpose so people understand the purpose, internalize the purpose and are willing to perform through challenges and under pressure so as to reach established goals. Your heart is the moral, ethical, and emotional compass that, in communication with your mind, will motivate, support and guide people in sustainable positive action in alignment with purpose. The whole point of leadership is arriving at where you need to be, not pointing at where you are. Let your heart guide the way.

Always connecting the unconnected,

Mike Watson, emcmike.com

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