My upcoming book, The Heart of Leadership is built upon a simple premise. Unless your heart is right, no one cares about your skills. This may sound harsh, but it's true. If people don’t trust our heart, they don’t trust us. If they don’t trust us – they won’t follow our leadership.
That’s the idea the book is built upon and for the last several weeks, I’ve been doing a deep dive on the ways our leadership character shows up in our day-to-day lives. When we demonstrate leadership character, others see it. They see it as leadership character in action. To review, they see it when we…
Hunger for Wisdom
Expect the Best
Respond with Courage
Think Others First
But why does this matter? Aren’t we just supposed to get results? If you’ve been leading long, you know you can get results without creating followship. Results can be the byproduct of a very toxic workplace and poor relationships with those you lead. The irony of this approach is two-fold. It is not the way to maximize results. And, it is not sustainable over the long haul.
There is a vast reservoir of untapped potential in most people and in turn, most organizations -- potential that goes unused and wasted. It resides in the discretionary efforts of our people. The day of the hired hands is dead. Leaders operating from that perspective are the dinosaurs of our day. As Peter Drucker said, “We are all knowledge workers.” The implications for leaders…
For every pair of hands you hire, you get a free brain.
Our challenge is to create the context and the work environment to mine that potential, to capitalize on that FREE brain. It starts with us. People don’t leave organizations, they leave their supervisor. Are we becoming leaders people want to follow? Or, are we driving talent away from our team?
Yes, we need the skills of leadership. I’ve devoted decades of my life to helping leaders acquire the requisite skills to lead well, but skills alone are not the answer. I’ll go back to where I started this post and to the premise of the book. If your heart is not right, no one cares about your skills. You and I will be dismissed as a leader if all we bring to the table are skills.
Leaders rarely fail for lack of skills. Certainly you can find examples of this, but in my experience, for every leader who fails because she can’t build a team or cast vision, countless others disqualify themselves for issues of the heart. The good news, we can change the condition of our heart. If we couldn’t, I wouldn’t have written the book.
So, what’s my point in writing this post? I want to encourage you to be vigilant and diligent - give adequate attention to matters of the heart. It is much more important than most leaders think – it is critical. These are not soft issues; these are issue that ultimately determine our impact on the world!
There is an ancient proverb that summarizes why the matters of the heart matter so much – it captures my thoughts as well as I could ever hope to…
Above all else, guard your heart. Everything you do flows from it.[GLS_Shield]