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Businesses are created and run by highly intelligent and innovative minds but leading with the heart requires a different leadership style. Leading with the heart involves making certain business decisions based on your heart instead of solely depending on your mind. It means putting people first, serving the community and creating purposeful employment. Entrepreneurs and business owners are faced with many decisions that impact profitability and the bottom line. But can they be compassionate leaders and achieve profitability at the same time? Studies show that they can.
What are some traits of a compassionate leader?
Mike Krzyzewski’s, former head basketball coach of Duke University and author of “Leading with the Heart: Coach K’s Successful Strategies” depicts the importance of compassionate leadership. With eight trips to the Final Four and two national championships with Duke University, he was one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time. Whether it is leading a basketball team or leading employees, many of Krzyzewski key strategies can be applied in business. Krzyzewski’s strategies focus on building relationships, character, team-building, training and development, and positivity.
Tom Rath and Barry Conchie, coauthors of Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow, using the Gallup research of more than 10,000 participants, identified what followers need from influential leaders is trust, compassion, stability, and hope.
What are the traits of a compassionate leader who leads with the heart?
- They are leaders who put others first. This includes employees, customers and vendors.
- They are passionate with a grand vision that they share with others. They can also influence others to see and follow their vision.
- They give hope to those who follow them and reasons to support their vision.
- They are positive and often times can turn a negative situation into an opportunity.
- They are kindhearted and show sincerity and respect even during stressful times. They expect others to show respect as well.
- They create purposeful employment where employees are high contributors and find work interesting.
- They have a spirit that inspires others to be innovate and creative.
- They share success by acknowledging and rewarding others and their contributions.
- They invest in their employee by supporting their growth and advancement.
- They give back to the community or other causes instead of just their company.
- They build communities, not just companies.
Leading with the heart creates a unique company culture that cultivates positive returns . Employees with compassionate leaders have stronger relationships with their managers. They have a higher level of engagement with the opportunity to be part of something bigger than their individual role. These employees are more productive and less likely to leave. Research shows (Frederick Herzberg’s Motivation Theory) that employees without a supportive relationship with their manager or supervisor are more likely to be unmotivated and dissatisfied. Herzberg’s motivation theory also sites recognition, opportunities for advancement and interesting work as significant motivators.
In a longitudinal study, Barsade and O’Neill found that employees working in a compassionate culture showed higher levels of job satisfaction and teamwork, organizational commitment, accountability on the job, and lower levels of absenteeism.
How can one argue that this leadership style isn’t good for business? More productive and satisfied employees, lower absenteeism and lower employee turn-over all add to the bottom line. And who wouldn’t desire to be part of this company culture? If compassionate leadership is not prevalent in your organization, it can be acquired.
Implementing compassionate leadership into practice.
Begin by assessing your leadership style. Then look at others within your organization. Who is your organization is leading with the heart? Who lacks compassionate leadership behaviors?
Don’t be discouraged if you find some insistency, for change can happen. Leaders can become more intentional with their actions for developing this style of leadership. Below are some strategies for leading with the heart:
- Communicate to your employees regularly by sharing information about the company’s vision and future. Host Town Hall Meetings monthly to share information with employees and celebrate success.
- Put others first, not just employees, but vendors and customers. This means looking at the bigger picture and how your decisions will impact others, especially long-term relationships. Avoid making decisions solely on the immediate monetary return.
- Invest in your employees. Provide opportunities for learning and development. These opportunities can be on-the-job learning activities or training conducted outside of your organization.
- Develop respect in the workplace by being open and honest when communicating to employees. Adopt a zero tolerance for malicious employee behaviors.
- Develop a corporate giving program which funds local charities or organizes giving events that encourage employee participation. Allow employees time off to volunteer.
- Demonstrate positivity instead of focusing on the mistakes of others. Turn mistakes into learning opportunities and encourage others to adopt this approach.
- Encourage employees to be innovate and creative by providing opportunities for them to participate in planning activities or leading projects.
- Focus on the positive. Recognize and reward employees for the behaviors and accomplishments. Positivity can be contagious in organizations.
February 13, 2019 at 08:42PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs