Being a Heart Guy

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“There is a great cost when you neglect the human connection point in business.” –  Susan Steinbrecher, CEO, Steinbrecher And Associates, Inc.

I’m a firm believer in the human element in business and in life. After all, the reason we build things, make products, and provide services is for other people. Without “heart”, then we don’t need leaders–any old machine can do it. A colleague of mine once described himself as a “heart guy” when I asked him about his leadership style, and he surely lived up to that! We simply cannot forget leadership is about people first and foremost. While getting the mission accomplished is the raison d’etre  for leaders and teams to work together, there are very few endeavors that should consume the team on the way to the goal. Even the military where we understand the work may incur casualties or even deaths, we understand the need for people-centered leadership.

Ms Steinbrecher writes:

Leading from the heart is not just a nice idea or theory or some magical dream. By embracing a heart-centered approach to leadership, you will be in a more powerful position than you could possibly have imagined. After all, what can be more powerful than motivating an associate to go the distance for you and your organization because he or she is inspired by you and respects you so highly? More importantly, you will genuinely and deeply touch the lives of others by your actions.

I wrote something similar in Leading Leaders:

However, any successful style has to recognize the foundational truth that leadership is fundamentally a human problem. This means that leaders have to engage the people they’re leading and not treat them as if they were a math problem. We cannot treat people like machines, and we cannot ignore the fact that people have a basic need for affirmation and a sense of fair play.

In nearly 28 years of leading in the Air Force, and a lifetime of leading on the sports field and other arenas, I can attest to the truth that the accomplishments of which I’m most proud are when I’ve had a positive impact on another person. Helping others reach their goals is far more satisfying than reaching my own goals.  My hat’s off to Ms Steinbrecher and all the other “heart guys” out there–thank YOU for your leadership and care for your people!


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