“You’re not going to be successful at this thing unless you move from your head to your heart.”
All that I could do was return a blank stare. What the hell did he even mean, move from my head to my heart? I had risen through the ranks because of my intellect and ability to identify patterns and connections; a strong analyst and strategist, with the ability to put things into action and make things happen. I had been more than successful at accomplishing business objectives and leading various groups within the company. I’d do anything I was called to do, and I thought well.
The reason I was even in this conversation was that I was looking to be the next level leader, and “the thing” that my coach had held a mirror up to was that I was simply not engaging the heart; less attuned to the emotions within me and others that serve as vital connection points for well-being, effectiveness, performance, care. Thoroughly focused on objectives, I was missing the deep human connection and caring that comes along with exemplary leadership.
That one phrase began a journey from “stoic and hard to read” to humble, vulnerable, and engaged with the heart work that is leading. And make no mistake about it, leadership IS heart work. No matter how high your IQ, it all falls short without well developed emotional intelligence. And the real secret in all of it? Engaging the heart, tapping into and using emotions in meaningful and effective ways, is a direct connection to fulfillment; higher performance in our professional work, stronger and more meaningful relationships, and a genuine and authentic stance in the space we occupy in this world.
Now, more than ever, we’re called on to lead through the heart. The world around us needs authentic, compassionate, and empathetic leaders.
You’re not going to be successful at this thing unless you integrate your head with the heart. Now is the time.