37: Leaders with Heart are Great Followers First


In this podcast episode, Heather speaks with Farouk Rajab about his leadership style, the secret to his leadership success, a time when he was not a shining leader and how he came out of it. You will love this one.

Key takeaways:

  • Leaders must be good followers first.
  • Seek to learn first and teach others to do the same.
  • Give your team members a space to create and flourish.
  • Hire the best talent so they can do their best work.
  • Test your people before assuming their talents.
  • Make it ok not to be perfect.
  • Be tender and kind.

This is a rich conversation that truly brings forth the Leadership with Heart foundation. Enjoy!

Farouk Rajab’s Full BIO

Farouk Rajab currently works as the General Manager of the Providence Marriott Downtown. At work, he uses collaborative communication to motivate his team. He works to earn their trust and empowers them to be their brilliant selves. He is a proactive, quality-focused leader, strategic catalyst, collaborative communicator and a community-driven professional. Rajab has a degree in Finance and Banking from the Arab College in Amman, Jordan. He resides in Stonington, Connecticut with his wife Dima and their three boys – Laith, Sami and Adam.

Empowering the People

We focus our conversations all the time on their learning.

What is this journey all about? What they are learning from? How can they pick those learnings and reflect them on to their performance and show us what they can do?

We always talk about their journey in the future, where they’re going, and where they want to be.

It is communication—talking to the people, understanding what they want and helping them get there.

You have to work hard on making sure that everybody is on the same level and everybody is performing. It’s like sailing your ship. Everybody has a job. You cannot be the person in charge of the sales and the person in charge of others at the same time.

I hire the best talent that I can find, so I can allow them to do what they’re good at, and I will learn from them. #leadershipwithheart Share on X You’re just as good as your least performer. #leadershipwithheart Share on X You have to have your own #purpose. #leadershipwithheart Share on X

Tenderness and Kindness

We need to provide our people with that tender and kind understanding of the situation of why they were not able to do whatever you are asking them to do, how they can do it and how you guide them through it.

You’ve got to think of those moments in a person’s life, when they walk onstage, how important it is to them and you have to recognize it that way.

You need to celebrate those moments for our associates and other people that we work with, and show them that we appreciate what they do.

Heart Connections

Let’s start with a thank you, because you know how hard they worked. You have to recognize how hard they’ve worked and you have to recognize that it was a busy time for them.

We continue to improve. We continue to seek greatness. We sit down, debrief, talk about what we did, how we did it, and if anybody has any feedback on it and how it could be done better. Was it perfect? Was it good? Then you reset.

We try to exercise those things, the heart connections with our guests, our associates, with each other, so we try to connect through the heart and through those moments of tenderness and kindness.

#Appreciation is sometimes never enough to the team. Share on X The tough times will pass. The good times will pass. #leadership #leaderswithheart Share on X


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Leadership With Heart With Heather R Younger

“Heather’s courage and vulnerability to share her authentic self are truly inspiring. She shares the most cutting-edge leadership strategies on topics like emotional intelligence and employee experience. If you’re looking to sharpen your leadership skills, this podcast is for you.”

Heather is a Workplace Culture Expert


CEO of Employee Fanatix

A leading workplace culture and employee engagement consulting & training firm.

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Bringing the best insights from over 25,000 employee stories to the stage.

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A trusted expert for stories on workplace culture, customer and employee engagement, and employee retention.


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