Great Leaders Work on Their Hearts First Putting Personal Development Before Professional Advancement

I am amazed how easy it is to regress in the area of the heart—our ability to love, forgive, uplift, and support others, especially during busy seasons of life. Despite the outside pressures, great leaders put their personal development ahead of their professional advancement.

Leaders, we must work on our hearts.

work on our hearts

When life is especially demanding, my attitude tends to decline. I can be more cynical or even negative. Even if it is not noticeable to others, I find myself having less positive thoughts about those I lead. That usually occurs as I have less time to tend to myself, less time in prayer, less time to read, write, reflect, talk to mentors, etc.

That’s why as leaders, we must be intentional to renew our commitment to healthy leadership. Here’s how we can do that.

How can we work on our hearts?

 

  • Be intentionally and genuinely loving to all. This alone, is very hard to consistently accomplish. We must not only make conscious efforts to love others, we must be authentic. People can tell when we are not.
  • Be magnanimous. Even when we have the right and ability to hurt someone, we must choose not to. As leaders, when we are confronted with discomfort, immaturity, or conflict, we must be the bigger person.
  • Be gracious. Offer people forgiveness and love even when they don’t deserve it. Look for opportunities to extend compassion and grace to others. Twitter_logo_blue
  • Be patient. Temper your responses and reactions to others with patience. Encourage people to give their personal best, but be patient when they do not meet your expectations.
  • Be kind. Be courteous to people. Particularly because of your position in leadership, say please and thank you. Let people know they are appreciated.
  • Be uplifting. Encourage people to reach their potential. Give them opportunities to shine and always recognize their efforts and achievements, especially when they contribute to the success of the team or organization.
  • Be courageous. Step outside your comfort zone to lead uncomfortable conversations. Model the kind of warmth and humanity you wish to see in others. Connecting on a personal level within a professional environment can be difficult. Let people see it is not only acceptable, but an expected element of your culture.

Why must we work on our hearts if we want to be great leaders?

There are two reasons. First, it is the right thing to do. Great leaders do the right thing (not just what is expedient to make them look good). Second, people want to follow leaders with big hearts, not small people with big checkbooks or big plans.

How do you work on your heart?

Practice personal development techniques—times for reading, writing, and thinking. Schedule alone time. If you are a person of faith like me, also ask God for help. As often as you can, surround yourself with people with heart.

Your Friend,
Wes Saade MD Signature

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For Further Reading:

Values of a Great Team: Love
How to Sow into the Lives of Others

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