Updated: Mar 20, 2020
Heart Centered Leadership Techniques
March 19, 2020
NOW MORE THAN EVER, compassionate leaders have the ability to literally hold our world together. Right now, they may be government health officials delivering critical news on Covid-19, VPs announcing important policy updates as companies adjust to new business conditions, or restaurant owners strategizing with staff about how to survive. Three key, people-centered strategies can empower business leaders to maintain not only trust but calm among their teams during challenging times.
Emotional Self Awareness – When leaders lead from the heart, it means that they’re self-acknowledging the uncertainty and resulting pain of a situation. And it’s from that place of awareness and vulnerability that they can be most effective to their teams and community – as if to say “I know, I see, and I feel the same fears that you do, and yet still I am certain we will get through this together. Here’s how…” Susan Steinbrecher on her Positivity Strategist website discusses Vulnerability and Empowerment among business leaders; specifically how leaders showing their realness through vulnerability is a trait that is deeply valued among employees.
Truth, Trust, and Regularity – The importance of current, truthful, and recurring communication by senior business leaders has never been more important than right now. Delivering the truth about policy changes, strategy pivots, and new resources and procedures with regularity can provide the teams you manage with a feeling of stability and structure. One business leader I know sends emails to his team every Sunday evening at 11pm, so his employees come to count on this recurring communication at the start of each new week. This practice demonstrates to your team that you understand them, understand their needs, and you’re at the helm ready to support.
The Gift of Time – When you’re managing a team (big or small), you’re also managing projects, productivity, timelines, priorities, competing agendas, and of course the deliverables that keep the revenue cycle going. At the heart of all these initiatives is people. And reinforcing the human side of your leadership is a proven way to not only get the most productivity from your employees but also maintain high levels of engagement. Giving them your time, attention, and care through regular 1:1s may be the most valued part of your leadership. Says Todd Davis in his Entrepreneur.com article, leaders can’t force a sense of engagement but can, instead, create the right conditions for engagement, which inspires employees to keep bringing their best energy to their work. Making 1:1s only about project status won’t endear you to your team. Instead, ask about challenges and blockers to progress and discuss how you can personally help or bring in others to support. Davis also suggests to discuss the whole person, asking about their personal pursuits and family life as a means of staying connected and demonstrating compassion.
Putting people first is the centerpiece trait among heart centered leaders. Doing this while balancing other business initiatives, combined with a healthy self-awareness, can build trust and inspire a sense of calm among teams during times we need it most.