I confess to being drawn toward facts and logic myself. It’s part of my DNA makeup and definitely impacts my view of the world.
For many years I discounted the role of emotions in my approach to leadership. That meant I could easily ignore the needs of persons who preferred more empathy and understanding. I wasn’t intending to be cold or indifferent. Feelings just didn’t resonate with me like knowledge and information.
Today I have more insights about the importance of heart and its role in leadership. While I still prefer a rational approach to problem-solving, I now pay more attention to what I and others are feeling.
This subtle shift has helped me acknowledge that even the most logical plan of action can be derailed if I fail to appreciate how others are feeling about the direction we are headed. Sometimes this means listening more carefully, especially to opposing viewpoints. Occasionally I need to be more in touch with my own feelings about the issue. Yes, even I have a heart!
Leaders who ignore, or discount, the impact of heart may never achieve the transformations in behavior or results they are seeking. Change involves both a rational path and an emotional context.
When leaders rely only on facts to support their plans, they will rarely achieve the buy-in necessary for successful implementation. Emotion inspires others to see beyond the data, to imagine what the future could be. It paints a vivid picture of how it will feel when we are successful.
Having more, or better, information is certainly a valuable resource for leaders. But so is paying attention to what is not always obvious, the emotional needs and feelings of those who will be impacted.
Leaders can become distracted with too much data. Leading from the heart is more likely the way to achieve true transformation, in ourselves and others.