15 Ways to Lead with Heart

Heartless leaders are deformed beasts who excuse abuse in the name of results. But, the tough aspects of leadership make having heart hard.

Open hearts feel pain that closed hearts don’t.


Wise leaders learn that heart is essential, especially while doing the tough stuff.

Those who lead with heart change lives.

The longer I lead the more I respect leaders with heart. Pushing for results is ordinary in leadership. But, pushing for results and having heart at the same time make leaders extraordinary.

The essence of heart is commitment to connect on a human level.

Leaders with heart:

  1. Say what they really think. Posturing reflects a closed heart.
  2. Remain predictable. Practice the ritual of touching base with teammates in the morning, for example.
  3. Reject the trappings of position. They won’t connect with you when you seem high and mighty.
  4. Live by values more than results.
  5. Create safe environments. Beastly leaders use fear to coerce compliance.
  6. Expose their own weaknesses that strengthen connection, but don’t foster entitlement or indulgence. Be “one of” not “one above.”
  7. Show interest in teammate’s family members. You connect with others by showing interest in their children, for example.
  8. Get out of your office.
  9. Honor the skills, passions, and strengths of others. Let others shine.
  10. Express tenderness toward others even as you expect excellence from them.
  11. Admit their own mistakes.
  12. Ask forgiveness for offenses.
  13. Stand with people who screw up.
  14. Express gratitude.
  15. Support the development of teammates and teams.

The thing that makes a leader remarkable isn’t their ability to achieve results. It’s their ability to achieve results with heart.

All heart without results is weak. All results without heart is ugly.

How can leaders have heart?

What prevents leaders from leading with heart?

This is the “H” installment of the Dictionary for Leaders series. See the list of leadership H’s on Facebook.