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The Art of Caring Leadership

The last 12 months have felt incredibly turbulent with COVID-19 and an increasing polarization in society dominating the news. For these reasons alone, I feel that the need for caring leadership has never been more important than it is right now. It is often said that we should be the change that we want to see in the world, so I set out to learn more from those who have mastered the art of caring leadership.

We have all been that person who has worked for someone who genuinely embraced us with their care. By contrast, we’ve all worked with someone who did the exact opposite and left us feeling not heard, not important, and not cared for at all. We are all searching for a sense of belonging and feel that our voice is valued. But what does caring leadership look like? And how does it uplift both teams and organizations?

I have shared my personal story in my Ted Talk about how not feeling heard or important inspired me to transform adversity into an opportunity. My mission has always been to ensure others always feel listened to and that their voice matters. One of the biggest drivers in my management career has always been the desire to listen more effectively. 

In my Leadership With Heart podcast, I have been fortunate to speak with and listen to over 150 inspiring leaders who have shared profound and actionable insights on how to be a caring leader. Each leader had a unique leadership story. They were also brave enough to share a moment when they were not the best version of themselves.

Howard Behar, former president of the Starbucks Coffee Company; Judith Scimone, senior vice president and chief talent officer at MetLife; and Garry Ridge, CEO and chairman of the board of the WD-40 Company are just a few examples of people who have shared with me how they have learned the art of caring leadership.

Throughout my career, I have read through thousands of employee survey comments from people who felt their voice was not being heard. When I listen to what the leaders are saying and the actions they take, I automatically find myself sniff testing if it is reconciling against what employees wished for or the things, they did not have in those survey comments. 

Ultimately, I have learned that if your people know you care about them, they will move mountains. Every leader I have interviewed expressed caring in their own unique, personal way. The powerful and profound insights gained from listening to both employees and leaders inspired me to write my second book, In The Art of Caring Leadership: How Leading With Heart Uplifts Teams and Organizations. 

I took lessons learned from 80 of my best interviews, along with thousands of those employee comments I have seen over the years. Together they have helped me build a framework that gives people actionable steps to show that they care. 

However, I didn’t just focus on Fortune 100 leaders or big names in the industry. I also shine the spotlight on everyday caring leaders and showcase what they do every single day to uplift and change the lives of those they lead. We are surrounded by caring leaders committed to seeing people succeed, not just for what they can do for the team or organization.  

I have witnessed first-hand how employees will go the extra mile for leaders who show they are genuinely concerned with what employees can do and who they are and can become. If this book makes it into the hands of people who don’t express or exhibit care and lead their people, I believe we can make a real impact in the workplace and the world.

I invite you all to join me on this journey of continuous learning, and together we can all master the art of caring leadership. You can find out more details and pre-order my new book here.

Discovering and Expanding Leadership Influence During and After Any Crisis A Mini Course + Action Planning Guide

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Heather R. Younger, J.D. YouTube Channel