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Be Real: Lead From Your HEART

Bill Treasurer Posted by Bill Treasurer, Chief Encouragement Officer, Giant Leap Consulting, Inc..

Bill Treasurer is founder and Chief Encourager at Giant Leap Consulting (GLC), a Courage Building company that helps people and organizations live more courageously. Bill is the author of numerous books on leadership and courage.

Be Real: Lead From Your HEART

As a practical matter, it’s a good idea to care about your people. When they know you care about them, they will care about you—and your success. In fact, you’ll know that you’re truly a leader who cares when the people you lead start seeking and valuing your input, when they take an interest in your career aspirations, and when they are actively supportive of you. And when your people care about you, they’ll help you get better results.

Much of my book Leaders Open Doors is about the metaphorical doors that open-door leaders create for the people they lead (the thought-shifting door, the door of opportunity, etc). But there’s one more door that you have to open before you can fully call yourself an open-door leader: the door to your heart.

The people you lead need to see that behind whatever shell you portray lives an imperfect being just like them. They need to know that, despite whatever successes you’ve achieved, whatever power you’ve amassed, and whatever perks you get, you’re still “real.” They want to know that however big your britches are, you still have a sympathetic heart that they will always be able to reach. As long as people know that you have a good and open heart, they will let you push them, give them tough feedback, and ask them to do more.

Power works best when it’s anchored in humility. tweet this

Some people just aren’t the feeling type. That doesn’t mean they don’t care. They just don’t show their caring through their emotions. My son, Ian, for example, is not a touchy-feely little tyke. On the contrary, he’s a rough-’n’-tumble boy, often with mud on his face and dirt on his feet, who tends to shy away from sentimental stuff. For example, one day when Ian was jumping on our backyard trampoline with his brother and sister, Alex and Bina, I called down from our deck to let them know I was going away on a business trip. I said, “I love you, kids!” Bina responded, “I love you too, Daddy!” Then Alex chimed in, “I love you too, Daddy!” Then Ian said, “I love your shirt, Dad!”

Like many people, Ian is uncomfortable showing his emotions, and that’s perfectly fine. Unlike his brother and sister, Ian has never been one to come up and spontaneously kiss me on the cheek. However, sometimes he does slap both of my cheeks, pull my face toward his, grit his teeth, and smoosh his forehead into mine as hard as he can. I consider this his way of showing me that he cares. The important thing is to show your caring heart in whatever way you can. Just make sure you check with HR before smooshing somebody’s head!

Here’s some practical ways you can infuse your team with compassion and caring:

  • Get out of your office. Don’t cloister, walk the halls, and dedicate a few hours each day to not looking at a screen of any sort.
  • Smile more. People won’t approach you if you’re a perpetual grump.
  • Set up and post a LinkedIn profile so people can view your educational background and career history if they want to.
  • Display a few pictures from your life outside work and/or your family.
  • If your company sponsors a softball league or folks get together for trivia night, join in the fun. Participating in casual activities should help defrost you.
  • Use these words liberally and sincerely: “thank you.”

Does your team have a compassionate leadership model?
Do you personally lead with humility?

Please contact Giant Leap at [email protected] to learn about our leadership workshops, including our team interventions and assessments.


This post is an excerpt from Leaders Open Doors by Bill Treasurer.

Image credit: condesign