How Caring Leadership Creates Concrete Results

Heather Younger

Over the course of my career, I’ve gotten the impression that people sometimes misinterpret my leadership style as “soft and fluffy,” or “touchy-feely.”

Though my leadership approach is indeed anchored in compassion and connection, that doesn’t mean the return on investment is any less than that of conventional, emotionally disconnected leadership styles.

In fact, the opposite is true.

A growing body of research has validated time and time again the concrete business results of caring leadership. Many assume that cutthroat workplaces yield high productivity, but countless studies have proven that positive, emotionally healthy cultures outperform their maladjusted competitors on every level. Here, I explore just four of the myriad ways that caring leadership transforms workforce dynamics and organizational performance.

  • Caring leadership inspires exponentially greater employee engagement. In a Gallup survey, 54% of employees who strongly believe they can approach their manager with any type of question report being actively engaged at work. Among employees who strongly disagree, only 2% are engaged, and 65% are actively disengaged. It takes a caring leader to foster this sense of emotional safety, and these numbers highlight just how dissatisfied employees feel when they believe their manager is inaccessible.

  • Caring leadership creates more loyal and grateful employees. Employees who receive empathy and selfless support from their colleagues are more likely to stay with the organization for the long haul. When we lead with bold actions that show we care, employees feel more compelled to contribute to our mission. Put simply, a leader cannot expect genuine loyalty from their team if they do not extend genuine care to them. Why would you be loyal to someone you didn’t trust had your best interest at heart?

  • Caring leadership increases productivity and efficiency. A workplace helmed by a caring leader is ultimately a less stressful environment, which in turn leaves space for greater focus and mental clarity on important projects. The American Psychological Association estimates workplace stress leads to 550 million lost workdays each year, and anywhere between 60% and 80% of workplace accidents are stress-induced. Should you streamline your organization’s workflow by way of caring leadership, just imagine what could be accomplished during all that recovered time.

  • Caring leadership enhances collaboration and team performance. If you model good communication skills and empathetic interactions, your employees are far more likely to extend that same grace to their peers. They tend to pay forward the goodness you embodied by recommitting their efforts to organizational objectives, and encouraging others to do the same.

Although these four advantages are just the tip of the iceberg, one message is abundantly clear: when people look up to and follow a caring leader, they feel safe enough to show up as themselves and leverage all their strengths in service of the collective vision, creating a mutually beneficial situation for everyone.

Unlocking employee potential is not a fixed formula with universally applicable action items, so it’s critical you take the time to consider what unique needs are not being met within your own circles. That might entail a little more elbow grease on your behalf to get everyone back on course.

Still, if you discount the business value of emotionally connecting with your employees, you might as well say goodbye to the benefits of a dedicated workforce in the same breath. Before your employees can believe in the company, they first have to believe in you as a person.

132: Leaders with Heart Listen to the Lessons of Imperfection

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Greg Brenner, Assistant Vice President for Talent & Organizational Development (HR) about his leadership style, his great example of when he was not the best version of himself, and some great pearls of wisdom.

Key takeaways:

  • Figure out how you want to engage with those you lead by being more intentional.
  • Put people at the center.
  • Be the grown up in the interactions with your people; take control of your emotions.
  • Choose whether you cast a shadow or not on those you lead.
  • Leadership is not a perfection game.
This episode will surely improve your leadership skills. Enjoy!

Greg Brenner is the author of the “Smack Dab in the Middle of Life” series. His passions are with all things people. In collaboration with his incredible wife, he has two wonderful kids, a sixteen-year-old son and a thirteen-year-old daughter who make him distinctly qualified to be “the Dad”.

At work, Greg supports a wonderful tribe who has taught him to learn, inspire and grow as the Assistant Vice President of Talent and Organizational Development at the fantastic University of Miami and Health System – UHealth.

Greg cherishes the time to write about HR, leadership, and daily life. Thanks to his tribe, colleagues, network, and family, Greg always has plenty of material. Hence, writer’s block is never a problem. Some say he can be very funny, sometimes serious, but always authentic.

Greg’s specialties include executive coaching, organizational development, listening, strategic planning and thinking, employee experience, culture transformation, human resources, recruiting, hiring, compensation negotiations, employee relations, conflict resolution & interventions, operations, leadership training, and team building.

Getting Better

I have learned a lot of things. I have grown a lot more in the senior level. Now, I’m in a space where you can get some more things done. It’s a good place to be. At the same time, it’s surrounded with challenges.

Leadership is not for the faint of heart. It is hard. It takes time. You cannot rely on your laurels. You cannot rely on what you did three months ago. It’s totally different. You have to shake it up, spit it out, do it all over again, then try to do something new. You have to continually get better, learn and grow as a leader.

Not everybody is a people-person, and that is perfectly okay. – Greg Brenner #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Loving the Work

Loyalty, Leadership, and Love. You have to love the work of leadership. You have to love the people. You can say that you don’t really love the people you’re working with a lot. But you have to love them if you’re going to be the difference between someone who is really strong at leadership and one who is just an off-the-chart leader. 

The latter walk in regardless of the fancy shoes they are wearing. You know they’re the leader and they’ve got it all over them. That’s because they love the people that are part of the organization and the mission they have.

I am very much a people-oriented person. I am a big picture thinker and I do things with heart. But my style is not for everybody. I allow people to do the job they’ve been hired to do, and that can rub some people in the wrong way. 

I would rather get ten root canals than work for a micromanager. I am centered at respecting people at their core. But I understand that not everybody is a people person.

Leadership has always been something that is inherent in me. Both my parents, although having different personalities, were so much focused on us being leaders. It was ingrained in our heads. My dad’s strength was showing up everyday for his patients. My mom, who worked just as hard as my dad at home, was all about caring for people.

You have a name, and you have to have respect that goes with the name. – Greg Brenner #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetBe a good person. – Greg Brenner #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Listening to the Lessons

I needed to lead better. People can lead when it’s a normal day, every day. The reason why a pilot gets paid so well is not when the plane is flying naturally since it is easy to do. When something does not go right, that’s when they earn money. Hence, I have to be a better leader moving forward.

It is about learning from your failing moments. If I would have gone through that moment and allowed that to be okay, I would have been a whole different leader today than I should have or could have been gone down that road—being another disastrous leader just because I didn’t listen to the lesson.

You’ve got to listen to the lessons. Thankfully, I learned my lessons early in my career. I am far from perfect and there’s still a lot of not-so-great things that I do. But when you put people at the center of it, it gives a lot of sense.

You cast a shadow on the people you are leading. It’s your choice to cast a good shadow or a dark cloud that is going to hang over like an albatross. – Greg Brenner #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetLeadership is difficult. It's not a perfection game. – Greg Brenner #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


Connect with Greg Brenner on LinkedIn

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131: Leaders with Heart Know the Power of Appreciation

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Danny Langloss, City Manager at City of Dixon in Illinois about his leadership style, the importance of showing appreciation for those we lead, a time when he was not the best version of himself, and much more.

Key takeaways:

  • There is a delicate balance, for the leader, on being self-aware and managing emotions.
  • There is a big difference between being very aware of who we are and how we are feeling, than how others are feeling or responding to who we are.
  • We should have robust personal and organizational or team mission to hold on to when things get tough. That is our north star
  • The leadership journey is not simple or easy.
  • We’ve got to show the right amount of care first, before we can focus on productivity and timelines.
Prepare your ears for this insightful episode. Listen and learn!

Danny Langloss currently serves as the City Manager at Dixon, Illinois.

Danny is a leadership speaker and coach specializing in leadership mindset, employee engagement, creating high performing teams, cultures of leadership, organizational excellence, change leadership, and crisis leadership. He is driven to inspire, motivate, and help individuals and organizations reach their full potential.

Danny believes the best way to predict the future is to create it. He is a lifelong student of leadership with more than 13 years of executive leadership experience. Danny is fueled by the value of being committed to excellence and is constantly looking for new, progressive strategies that drive employee engagement, ownership, and excellence.

Over the past 5 years, Danny has served as the keynote speaker for national and state conferences on leadership, substance use disorder, brain health, and protecting children from child predators. 

Great Profession

Honestly, it bothers me not to be in law enforcement. There’s so much change that needs to happen in that great profession.

Before becoming the City Manager, I was getting ready to run for the International Chiefs of Police on four premises: first was leadership, developing leaders, and forefronting meaningful, progressive change. Second was to build meaningful strong relationships with communities of color. The third was substance use disorder and addiction. The fourth was mental illness. I wish I could’ve stayed but I love Dixon. We’re doing great things at Dixon.

There's no destination in our leadership journey. – @DannyLangloss #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Great Commitment

We really try to create a culture that is really consistent with the feeling of getting a family where we hold each other accountable. I talk a lot about a relaxed environment, where the expectations are high and we’re going to perform to a certain level. But in a relaxed and caring environment, it’s all about inclusion, empowerment, growth, opportunity, and innovation.

It’s funny that you get different feedback the farther you move up in an organization. I just had my evaluation a couple weeks ago. I was blown away by a lot of the words and the things that our top team members have said. I would hope that my commitment to doing the things I just talked about would be reflected there.

My team is so amazing. They always rise to the occasion and that has never been more evident than during this whole COVID- 19 situation. When the state of Illinois came out with the downstate small business stabilization grant, the city had to be an applicant and every business had to be a separate application between 80-100 pages.

But our team rose to the occasion and we submitted 54 grants on behalf of our community. That is true dedication, living one’s purpose, and ownership. That is commitment. It was inspiring to be part of that, to see us deliver, and come through for our businesses.

The more you give back, in the end, the more you receive. – @DannyLangloss #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetWe're not perfect. When we think we are, we're done. – @DannyLangloss #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Great Passion

I’ve always wanted to be in the position that gives me the ability to make the biggest difference with my current skill set. When I was a police officer, I never said I want to be the police chief. I just always wanted to be in the position that would give me the chance to make the biggest impact. Early on, that was as a patrol officer. Then it was as a detective.

I’m very passionate. One of the things I’m very passionate about is giving a face and a voice to victims of child sexual abuse. I specialized in that for ten years. I worked on these cases, and I was sent to incredible trainings. Also, I helped create our first child advocacy center.

I was very frustrated with the way victims were treated when they came forward. When I became police chief, that wasn’t a destination. That was the beginning. I used my badge as doors to create major community awareness and prevention campaigns, to raise money for our local center, and to help Erin Merryn create Erin’s law, which is the first law in the country that required age appropriate child sexual abuse prevention education in grades Pre-K through 12.

While my passion is one of my greatest strengths, it is also my greatest weakness.  – @DannyLangloss #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet Proactive communication is one of the greatest tools of leaders during these times. – @DannyLangloss #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


Connect with Danny on LinkedIn and Twitter

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Why Caring Leadership is Critical

Every leader wants to think of themselves as caring, but in my experience, I’ve found that most fall short of demonstrating that they care in consistent and meaningful ways. Part of the problem stems from the fact that the term “caring leadership” is somewhat vague. In my eyes, caring leadership means taking daily actions to show concern and kindness to those we work with. It means prioritizing the human over the employee in someone, and selflessly helping them succeed for themselves first and the organization second.

So why is caring leadership even necessary? Simply put, caring leaders are undeniably better, more effective leaders. The more that leaders express care for those they lead, the more their followers will feel inspired to go above and beyond for the benefit of that leader, that team, and perhaps most importantly, for themselves.

If your main focus as a leader is on the business side of things, caring leadership can augment the bottom line, too; employees’ enthusiasm for reducing costs, increasing focus, meeting client needs is exponentially higher if they feel cared for by those who lead them. Daniel Goleman’s research highlights this connection between showing a genuine interest in people, increased productivity, and reduced employee turnover.

I often advise those hoping to elevate their leadership style through care & empathy to start with self-leadership skills. Why start there? One cannot begin to show caring leadership to others if they do not care for themselves first. This entails re-familiarizing yourself with your core purpose and why you want to lead, consistently growing your professional and emotional skill set, recalibrating your communication strategies, or simply taking time to care for your mind, body and spirit. Once you refine these internal qualities, you will find you are better equipped to create safe spaces where you can make others feel important and bring out the best in them.

Caring leadership is most critical now more than ever. With so much pain inside and outside the workplace, everyone is seeking leaders to make them feel cared for in purposeful ways. Today’s employee needs a leader who knows that what you put into a relationship is what you get out of it, and that caring leadership has the power to extend beyond the professional environment and ripple into other communities. With a little work, that leader can be you.

If you found this article insightful and you are ready to begin your own caring leadership journey, pre-order my upcoming book, The Art of Caring Leadership: How Leading with Heart Uplifts Teams and Organizations. You’ll find more techniques to help you become the best leader you can be, and powerful, real world stories of those who embody caring leadership every

The Enduring Resonance of MLK Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” in 2020

This August marks the 57th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famed and powerful speech, “I Have a Dream.” 

Delivered in 1963 after the historic March on Washington, the influential plea for racial equality and civil justice for African Americans resonated deeply with citizens across social and political divides, and has since been celebrated for its continued relevance.

I have such a personal affinity to Dr. King’s entire philosophy and what he represented as a leader. A little while back, my husband and I were reading his “I Have a Dream” address at the dinner table with my four children. As someone who graduated from law school, the legal system is such a critical foundation for who I am and what I believe in. Even though I’m no longer practicing law, looking at things through that lens makes sense to me.

Now, in the year 2020, I revisit the civil rights leader’s landmark speech for guidance. The era of segregation was characterized by extreme thoughts and acts of violence and a radically polarized political landscape; today, as we navigate another historic period of disruption and division, I’m reminded of Dr. King’s words.

In “I Have a Dream,” Dr. King spoke to the nation, but particularly to the people he saw as his kinsmen. But within that circle he included allies who were aligning themselves with the good fight, who were equally disturbed by persistent forms of injustice. 

What draws me most to Dr. King is the fact he was profoundly rooted in our nation’s history, and he predicated his arguments on a legal basis. He referenced the Declaration of Independence, making clear that the cause for racial equality is a human rights issue, not just a color issue. He argued when the Founding Fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to the citizens that would inherit the new America. But, as Dr. King clarified, that note carefully excluded Black individuals, instead granting them a check marked “insufficient funds.” Plainly put, the laws this country were founded on did not have the same promise for Black America as it did for white America. And to this day, we are witnessing just how hollow that promise continues to ring.

But what I love about this metaphor is what comes next: Dr. King refused to believe the bank of justice is bankrupt. He refused to believe there are insufficient funds for the opportunities of the nation. He implored his African American brothers and sisters to maintain a positive mindset, to take the high road and not stoop to the level of the narrow-minded majority who perpetrates racism. Above all, he instilled a message of hope in his people– his kinsmen– and he illuminated an exit strategy through education, peaceful protests, calling on your vocal allies, and being the bigger, stronger person in spite of everything that’s happening. To reference his religious upbringing, Dr. King suggested we turn the other cheek.

One line in particular lives one with renewed vigor: “so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream… I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’” 

Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to rise up and fulfill that guiding principle, and heed Dr. King’s enduring message of hope above all else. Whether you interpret his words through religion, through poetry and passion, or even through law like I do, I urge you to revisit this moment in history and replenish your emotional bank account, so to speak. 

What we need now, is hope.

130: Leaders with Heart Create a Space for Others to Follow

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In this rich episode, Heather speaks with LaToya Lyn about her drive to lead (which you will love), her short time spent with the late John Lewis, civil rights advocate who was very close with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and some brilliant pearls of wisdom for every leader to think about.

Key takeaways:

  • As a leader, it is not what you do, but how you do it.
  • Leaders don’t lead; they create a space for others to follow.
  • Do your people feel like they need an invitation to participate, or are they free to join?
  • Lead in and bring your people into your circle.
Don’t miss this insightful ride! Listen and learn!

LaToya Lyn is an HR leader with a deep passion for people within the workplace. 

LaToya has a dual masters in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior from Brooklyn College. Her professional experience spans from executive coaching to driving organizational changes and culture transformations for technology companies globally. She has contributed to the world of cognitive neuroscience, including adult learning theories, and animal research. 

LaToya is also a four-time National DisruptHR presenter, GoCoach, and ThinkHuman reoccurring contributor. She is also a recent Harvard University and MIT executive coaching and artificial intelligence professional. 

Bringing People

I have had various leadership opportunities. I have been blessed with a gift to bring people together, as well as bring out their best selves and their fullest potential in a very authentic way. Also, I have also been blessed to be a student and to learn from them. It’s been just a great journey and I’m really looking forward to my next chapter.

I think I was placed in leadership roles, because people listen to me and not because I had a smart thing to say. If I am asked how did I choose to lead, I think I just don’t know any better.


I am in a position to move forward knowing that John Lewis is over all of us. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Not Alone

John Lewis was an amazing figure in everybody’s life from a political and civil rights standpoint. He was best known as Martin Luther King’s right-hand partner, his steady hand, who kind of kept his heart to the ground, and really fought against the adversities among people in the South.

He protested for people of color, Black people especially, who were being oppressed and segregated in the height of the Jim Crow era. He had been a congressman and a part of our American constitution for many years. He had written lots of legislation and fought for everyone’s rights. He was a divine human being.

I had a chance to meet him. A few years ago, I was asked to do a keynote at a private college in New Jersey. Part of it was to have the opportunity to meet Congressman John Lewis, and he was supposed to give us some encouragement to get us juiced up.

Then something told me to just go up to him, so I went up to him. I just said to him, “Why is it so hard?” I am the only black woman in an executive leadership space, and I’m always there to help and guide people through. But no one is helping me.

He looked me in the eye, grabbed by hand very firmly, and told me, “Don’t worry. You’re not alone.” I didn’t explain much but he immediately knew what I was talking about. He also told me, “The ancestors are guiding you. Don’t worry.” Hearing such encouragement was one of the most pivotal moments in my life.

I call the people that report to me my colleagues intentionally. My role as their leader is to inspire them and move things out of the way. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetBeing a leader is a privilege. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Align and Respect

People ask me, “What makes you a good leader?” Or, “What makes anyone a good leader?” That is a billion-dollar industry. But I always advise people to get aligned with their own values.

What’s important to me is that I am high-integrity. I have gone through so much in my life like oppression and traumas. But I act with a sense of urgency, naturally, because time is limited. When I think about integrity, it’s about the intention and not the mistakes

We work in a model where direct reports know more than you. Direct reports have expertise that I don’t have. With that, then what I need to do is to work on my character and how I approach things to get the most out of people. Hence, leaders need to check in with themselves how they can lead their teams effectively.

Another thing that’s really important is respect for my life. Because I have respect for my life, I will automatically have respect for yours.

Our tendency as human beings is either to fight or flight. But to fight when you’re leading someone is very difficult. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet Working with kids had groomed me to be the leader I am today because I had to really listen with my heart. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


Connect with LaToya on LinkedIn

Read LaToya’s article on John Lewis HERE.

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How to Navigate the Racial Divide at Work

Racial divide

The other day, I hosted a LinkedIn Live to discuss the racial divide and how we can all show up as better humans in these turbulent times – particularly in the face of people who are demanding less talk and more action. 

As an African-American woman, I believe we MUST continue to have these discussions, because they need to remain top of mind. We have to remember that this is not just another news cycle. This is a reality for so many.

Here are some of our top takeaways:

Use the influence that you already have

When we talk about talking and then walking, we need to remember that what we’re essentially doing is using the sphere of influence that we have – whether that’s a big circle or a small circle – to get the word out and drive action. You have more influence than you might think. Start where you are with what you have.

Stay committed for the long haul

Solving the centuries long issue of the racial divide in this country and worldwide is not as simple as flipping a switch. That switch does not exist, and so we have to be prepared to stay committed to having antiracist conversations and taking antiracist action for the long haul. 

Small steps taken repeatedly will help move us forward. Start with one person at a time, one ripple at a time – and don’t be discouraged if change doesn’t happen as quickly as you would like. 

Cultivate meaningful relationships that will help you grow

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to have meaningful relationships in your life that will enrich and empower you and help you grow. When you build those kinds of relationships with people who are different from you, it’s in the conversations that you share that will help bring about change – especially when you can challenge one another to see something from a different perspective, perhaps uncovering some unconscious biases you didn’t know you had in the process.

Being intentional in the way you have these conversations with people and the way you search out people who have different perspectives than you do is also important, because that’s where professional growth really happens – not when you’re talking to the people who agree with you all the time. 

Surround yourself with people who are willing to deliver uncomfortable feedback

When you surround yourself with people who are willing to give you feedback that might be uncomfortable for you to hear, you can practice being curious and considering where you might need to change your approach or outlook. Without those outside perspectives, you might never expose the areas in which you need to grow. 

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is imperative in order to gain a new understanding about yourself, or another person’s experience. We cannot have meaningful dialog if we’re not willing to see another person’s perspective. Consider how you might rise above your cynicism or any preconceptions and find the courage to have uncomfortable conversations in which to invite more understanding.

When you know better, do better

Maya Angelo once said, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” In order to do better, we have to know better. What that means is we each have our own challenges, belief systems, our and models of the way the world “should” work – and that’s uncomfortable because we all want to believe we’re right. But that’s the challenge for each of us – to educate ourselves about other people’s experiences and challenges in order for us to grow and change our corner of the world.

Leave room for hope 

Consider how you can be less of a historian and more of a visionary. How might you cultivate a greater sense of optimism about the future? And how might you uplift and encourage others for the road ahead so that we have the energy to move forward and continue to do the work that’s necessary to heal the divide between us? Leaving room for hope gives us the strength we need to advocate for change and the faith we need to stay the course.

Understanding is the key to healing the racial divide, and the responsibility belongs to all of us.

129: Leaders with Heart Use Employee Feedback to Improve Themselves

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Scott Miller, EVP of Thought Leadership at Franklin Covey about his leadership style, his drive to lead, and his unique view on leadership and self-awareness.

Key takeaways:

  • As leaders, we must be aware of our shortcomings to truly meet our people where they are.
  • Do your people feel safe to tell the truth about you to your face?
  • Great leaders are more concerned with the right thing than being right.
  • Be the leader who is comfortable with your people eclipsing your leadership.
Listen in and take as much wisdom as you can from this leader with heart!

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as the Executive Vice President of Thought Leadership. 

Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Also, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Release, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal best-seller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team

Previously, Scott worked for the Disney Development Company, and grew up in Central Florida. Scott served under the tutelage of Dr. Stephen R. Covey for close to two decades as a sales producer and sales leader.

He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

Cycling Back

I think I am transitioning out of leading people. It’s been a wonderful journey.

[Leadership] can be unrelenting. It can be unrewarding and it’s not for everyone. Not everyone should be a leader and I’m not sure if I should have been a leader early on. I’ve grown and matured a lot. At this stage of my life, I’m very comfortable saying my leadership journey is coming to completion.

I’m going to cycle back into becoming an individual producer. Right now, I’m leading three boys that my wife and I have brought into this world.

Just because you're in the C-suite does not mean you perfected all of the leadership management strategies. – @scottmillerj1 #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Blind Spots

Sometimes, I have extreme courage. I’m too courageous when it comes to calling up people’s blind spots. I don’t let issues linger.  Also, I could use some growth on balancing my courage with my diplomacy or consideration.

It’s your job as a leader to constantly become more self-aware, whether it be through seeking feedback and making it safe for others to tell you their truth about you. I say their truth because sometimes it’s about their ex-boss who sounds like you, or their ex-husband who looks like you. You have to make it safe for others.

What I often do in a conversation is I just ask people what’s it like to work for me, to be in a zoom call with me, to work a trade show booth with me, to go to lunch with me, or to work on a product launch with me. I would  make sure they know that I’m not going to refute, deny, or explain it away. I’m just going to listen and write it down.

Then I would take it a step further. I would show extraordinary levels of vulnerability, and ask them what they think is going on with me when I’m showing those. I’ll ask if I seemed jealous, insecure, unprepared, or threatened. I would roll out some adjectives so that they can share with me what they haven’t felt safe saying before. Occasionally, someone will tell how I react and I become more aware of why I act that way in front of a meeting. It’s insightful.

No one is as self-aware as they think they are. – @scottmillerj1 #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetScott’s best talents are two things: taking nothing and turning it into something, and giving my people feedback on their blind spots. – @scottmillerj1 #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Leading People

I don’t believe that everyone should be a leader of people. Sometimes it gets confusing that everyone has leadership skills in them. Of course, you lead yourself, or your legacy, or a project. But I don’t think that everyone should be a leader of people. I think, too often, people are lured into being leaders of people.

A study said that the average age when someone is promoted into their first management role is at age 30. But the average age they receive their first leadership development training is at age 42.

Now there’s a whole lot of people wrecking carnage across cultures and organizations because they were not trained to be great leaders. Either they weren’t vetted properly or they weren’t told that this is what leadership looks like.

If your people know that you're willing to grow and learn, they can share insights about your own blind spots with you. – @scottmillerj1 #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetEffective leadership is not acquainted with charisma or vocabulary. It's confidence, humility, vulnerability, and listening. – @scottmillerj1 #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


Connect with Scott on LinkedIn and Twitter

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How to Be a Congruent Leader at Work

How to be a congruent leader

One of the topics I discuss in my upcoming book under self-leadership is the idea of leadership congruence. 

In other words, are we who we say we are? 

We may think we are a certain way, but how do we actually show up? And is that in alignment with the person we are and aspire to be?

For example, I work out 6 days per week and others might perceive me as fairly healthy, but I struggle with eating well. I often lack self-control to make the right choices, or to exercise intentionality with what I eat. In fact, it’s a constant struggle. Because I’m not perfect in any regard, I work on becoming more congruent everyday. It will be easier, of course, once I stop buying snacks for my kids who are waiting to return to school.

Congruence between values and behavior is a vital but often overlooked aspect of leadership – and it’s what differentiates the most successful leaders with the most engaged teams. 

When you are congruent, your beliefs and your actions are in complete harmony.

So, how do we become more congruent? Here are a few things to consider: 

1. Practice mindful self-awareness

Practicing mindful self-awareness gives you the ability to examine your thoughts and reflect on your actions at the end of each day. By asking yourself how aligned you were with who you believe yourself to be, you can assess how congruent you were, and where you could do better tomorrow.

2. Do a congruency audit

Ask your employees, friends or family – and whoever else you feel most comfortable with – to give you some honest feedback. Have them describe you in three words and notice which words come up most often. That will help you decipher whether you’re portraying who you believe yourself to be.

3. Notice how you lead

Have you ever asked your employees or team to “do as I say, not as I do”? If you want to be a leader who inspires loyalty, employee satisfaction, and team cohesion, consider how you can better align your words with your actions. For example, if you regularly leave the office early to play golf or get home before rush-hour traffic, consider whether you would allow your team to do the same. 

As you bring more noticing to the ways in which you lead, allow your values to guide you as you begin to practice congruent leadership each and every day. 

A relação entre a robustez mental e a liderança atenciosa


Estou muito feliz em divulgar que meu próximo livro, The Art of Caring Leadership: How Leading With Heart Uplifts Teams já está disponível para pré-venda na Amazon. Escrever este livro foi uma longa jornada – e ainda não acabou!

À medida que eu fazia as alterações finais no livro, um tópico que tem sido muito importante para mim é como, em tempos sem precedentes em que tudo está de cabeça para baixo, mais do que nunca, precisamos cuidar dos nossos colaboradores e, ao mesmo tempo, ajudá-los a ter resiliência – especialmente para aqueles que estão sendo desproporcionalmente impactados pela crise concomitante.

À primeira vista, a “robustez mental” aparenta ser uma antítese à liderança atenciosa, mas fortalecer nossas reações para com os acontecimentos que serpenteiam à nossa volta é a forma como desenvolvemos a capacidade de nos mostrarmos presentes para as pessoas que lideramos.

Há quatro práticas que têm me ajudado a me manter forte mentalmente e que me permitem continuar a estar presente para você na posição de liderança e prestação de serviços atenciosos, os quais vou de hoje, que você pode ler aqui.

1. Intencionalidade

Ter um modo de pensar intencional envolve perceber como respondemos a circunstâncias e as interpretamos como adversas ou desafiadoras. Em se tratando de robustez mental, podemos praticar a troca de nossa resposta inicial para algo igualmente ruim e, em vez disso, procurar o lado positivo. Pergunte-se “Nesta circunstância, o que vai me ajudar a seguir adiante? No Meu TED talk, falo como virar a chave ajudou muito na minha vida e no meu negócio. Eu reorganizo as coisas com frequência

2. O foco no futuro

A segunda prática é garantir que a minha missão e minha visão sobre mim e/ou a minha organização e minha equipe sejam robustas,causando-me uma emoção tão positiva, que não tenho outra alternativa a não ser me agarrar a elas – mesmo quando os momentos são difíceis. Quando consigo tomar medidas que apóiam a missão e a visão clara e duradoura, continuo seguindo adiante, e não fico paralisada no mesmo lugar. O alinhamento requer que eu mantenha meu foco no futuro a todo momento em vez de ficar atolada no passado quando as coisas não aconteceram da forma que eu gostaria que acontecessem. Em vez disso, a minha missão e a minha visão são a minha estrela guia, que me fazem seguir adiante. 

3. Tenha coragem

A terceira prática que me faz estar mentalmente forte e resiliente é ter coragem. Podemos nos encher de coragem como uma barreira ou proteção que nos permite pular obstáculos ou nos repelir deles em nossa trajetória, pois percebemos que eles são irrelevantes quando se trata de atingirmos nossos objetivos.

4. Faça menos do que sua capacidade permite

Por fim, uma das maneiras que você pode cultivar a força e a robustez mental é, como eu sempre gosto de dizer, “faça menos do que sabe fazer até chegar aos resultados”. Em outras palavras, às vezes você não escolhe um certo caminho, mas independentemente disso, precisa dizer a si mesmo que você é a pessoa que deseja ser. Em geral, se repetirmos essa frase para nós mesmos, seremos a pessoa que dizemos ser – somente pela virtude da forma como falamos sozinhos. 

Essa prática fortalece a robustez mental e nos ajuda a sair do “estado de vítima”. Em vez de se perguntar “Quem sou eu?”, diga, ”Sou CEO bem-sucedido de uma empresa em crescimento, onde passo uma mensagem de efeito que irá mudar a vida das pessoas, e que tem serviços que irão ajudar as pessoas.” 

Mesmo que, em certos dias, você não escolha um determinado caminho, essa afirmação – fingir o sentimento até que ele aconteça – faz parte da manutenção da robustez mental para que continuemos presentes para aqueles que lideramos.