man and a woman looking at a laptop

What it Means to Lead with Your Heart

In order to run a business, you must use your head. There are numbers, and statistics you have to worry about. Highly intelligent people are put in places so that they can grow and maintain a business. The only issue is that you can’t take that mindset in order to try to grow people. If you want to make sure numbers look good, you use your head and an Excel sheet. Making decisions with your head kind of looks like all of the companies laying off people currently. Leaders only see people as line items. It’s a sad question, but people wonder if being compassionate makes you profitable?

There are plenty of benefits of leading with your heart that you won’t see in your spreadsheet. Firstly, it’s a great relationship builder. Especially when it comes to workers and managers. When a manager is compassionate to his/her direct reports, the direct reports feel like they can be a part of something that’s bigger than themselves. If they are constantly living in fear of their own performance, the only thing they’ll think about is themselves. In turn, these workers are encouraged by their own will to be more productive. They will also be more likely to stay for a longer period of time. The opposite of this worker feels like they need to work hard due to obligation and not their own wants. This leaves them unmotivated and dissatisfied.

Now let’s make the micro a little bit more macro. When it comes to compassion in the culture of the company, people are more productive and satisfied of course. This means that there are fewer people missing work, or finding any reason to miss work. I have a scratchy throat. I may call off tomorrow… Leaders may not realize that this productivity only adds to their bottom line. Now if we can just keep the motivation of money at the bottom.

How to Be a More Compassionate Leader

The solution to just about all the problems that I pose is awareness. You really have to ask yourself, “Are you leading with your head or your heart?” Look to other leaders and ask the same question of them. It’s very easy to fall into an unconscious space of only caring about goals and milestones. Leading with your heart is a very intentional practice. Being compassionate is all about putting people first. That’s not just the people you can gain something from by being nice. This means everyone: from the CEO to the janitor. This also means outside vendors as well. Speaking of outside, make it feel like there is an outside. People have interests outside the company. They should be free to express those while at work, just like people are free to express their love for the products and services that the company provides.

The other solution is the money issue. I think the biggest solution here is to make sure that every decision isn’t based on a temporary monetary gain. People deserve to know the bigger picture. when the bigger picture is communicated, it’s only right to stick with the goals rather than pivot in order to make the quickest of bucks. Especially when this decision impacts others and no one was really thinking about its implications. Make sure all communication is open and honest, and everyone is accountable for their words.

Last but not least, let’s make sure we keep things positive. I know that positivity can be toxic, but the positivity I want to maintain here is the ability to make mistakes and have learning moments. Let’s not focus on the mistakes that we make because we are definitely going to make them. We are not machines. If we aren’t making mistakes, we aren’t doing anything innovative, nor are we taking risks. Mistakes should be expected. Our reward system is so much based on results that we should be applauding the person who is willing to do something new as well. That’s even if they fail.