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15: Leaders with Heart Make Their People Feel Safe by Allowing Their Voices to Be Heard

I am so excited to have Mark Nagel on the podcast today. He was referred to me by a close friend of mine, Kimberly Davis. She shares with me that

“Mark brings more heart to his work than any leader I know.

“Heart” for him is not soft, although he can be very tender and gentle when the situation calls for it. He is able to say the hard things to hold people accountable, and grow them beyond what they even envisioned for themselves.

People want to follow Mark, which makes him the epitome of a brave leader.”

In this episode, we talk about Mark’s three-pronged leadership style, making your people feel valued and the importance of feeling heard and feeling safe.

Mark Nagel’s FULL BIO

Mark Nagel currently is a Sr Leader in the People Department (Human Resources) at Southwest Airlines leading a special focus on HR Transformation and HR Technologies.

Prior to Southwest Airlines Mark was a HR Director Best Buy for 15 years, covering a variety of HR operational areas including Affirmative Action, HR compliance and Employee Relations.

In his spare time Mark serves on the Board of Directors and sings in Resounding Harmony, a non-profit chorus that performs concerts for other non-profits, raising funds and awareness for their causes. He also serves as Vice President of the North Texas Industry Liaison Group- an organization that helps federal contractors share best practices in Affirmative Action.

Your Job as a Leader

The companies Mark worked for in the past really believed in unleashing the power of their people, or every individual.

These companies taught me that “each person is valued, and they’re valued for what they have…

As a leader, my job is to make sure that everybody can feel that, because some people might not feel comfortable doing that. There might be something hindering them. It’s either something that’s in their environment; it might be something that happened to them in the past.

So how can we make sure that that is unleashed? Make sure that every day, when they come in, they feel like, “I can totally be myself and I’ve got something to add. I’ve got something to add to the story; I’ve got something to add to the work that we’re doing.

That’s what drives me, helping people discover that.

Talent and potential – it’s all housed within us, and it just takes astute leaders, ones who are really paying attention, to pull those out from within each person that we lead. Click To Tweet

Leading with Heart

What does leading with “heart” mean to you? For Mark, it starts with being a servant to your team.

My job is to provide resources to my team, whether it’s something as much as a budget, or a vision. Sometimes it’s permission to go ahead and say, “No, that’s not for me. You do that. You don’t have to have me to have permission to do things.”

One of my favorite phrases is, everybody should feel comfortable to lead from any seat at the table. It’s not about me as a leader…we all, at different times of the journey, are going to be sitting at that leadership seat and we all need to feel comfortable with looking to each other for those leadership moments.

So as a leader, my job is to go ahead and be a servant and help them discover that.”

One of my favorite things to do is say, 'You taught me something today. I didnt know that.' Click To Tweet

Always Be a Learner

Never think that you know it all, and make it a point to learn from your team every day.

That’s the thing that at times, leaders feel like they have to put a big ‘S’ on their chest and “I’ve got to know everything and I’ve got to have all the answers for them”.

But again, if we go back to that 80/20 rule, 80% of those answers are found within our team. We need to always have our learner’s hat onand say, “What can I learn from each of my team members today?” and to thank them for that.

Even the best leaders have times when they weren’t so great. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Connection doesn’t have to cost a thing. It can just cost your time and your focus. Click To Tweet Everyday is an opportunity to build (relationships). #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

People feel valued when they feel like they’ve taught something, and that they’ve given something back. Click To Tweet


Connect with Mark on LinkedIn

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