“Demonstrating Care – giving heart to people in the broadest sense – is essential to maximizing human potential and achievement.” ~ Mark C.  Crowley, Lead From the Heart

Today I had the pleasure of seeing Mark C. Crowley present on his research and book, Lead From the Heart.  This is actually the third time I have seen Mr. Crowley present and each time I hear new information and am reminded of this critical component of leadership.  Furthermore, within his presentation, we were reminded that everyone has a story. We all have circumstances that are beyond our control. It is not what lies in the story itself, it is how we handle the story that makes the difference.  Without care, concern, and a deep understanding of your colleagues, how can we know how to lead others? Without knowing their stories, how can we understand their history? Without asking about their goals and aspirations, how can we help them grow?  Leading from the heart is a vital component to leadership today and aligns with the engagement element of care and concern in the meaning-centered leadership model.  

Care and Concern

Everyone needs to feel as if someone cares.  Caring is critical to the growth and development of children.  It is important in the relationships we have with friends. And a family thrives when members show genuine care and concern for each other.  Why, then, would we expect anything different in the workplace? Unfortunately, one of the top reasons for disengagement and employee turnover is because employees do not feel cared for in the workplace.  In speaking with disengaged employees, we’ve heard comments like:

  • My new boss doesn’t even know how long I’ve worked here!  
  • My boss has never asked about my life outside of work.  He doesn’t even know if I’m married or have kids.  
  • I was in a slump one day and my boss called me out on it.  He didn’t ask why I was upset, he just called me out on it.  Little did he know I had just lost a dear friend to cancer. If he asked I would have shared, but he doesn’t care, so why should I?

How can a great leader show care and concern?  It boils down to the basics of simply being a good human being.  The golden rule. Say hello. Say please. Say thank you. Acknowledge others and show respect for their contributions and their opinions.  Small acts of kindness and genuine care and concern for others will lead not only to higher levels of engagement, but the team will feel better overall.  When you know someone on a deeper, more personal level, it clarifies the relationship and makes it easier to understand the ups and downs we all experience in life.  

Create a Meaning-Centered Leadership Approach

The meaning-centered approach to leadership incorporates engagement through care and concern. One simple step to begin to incorporate meaning in your workplace is to simply treat others with the same care and concern you would like to receive. Spend just a few minutes each and every day getting to know someone in your office on a deeper level.  Take a look at their pictures in their office space. Start a simple conversation – Oh, you like beagles?  I love dogs, too. What’s your dog’s name?  These small conversations do not have to be scripted or long, simply learn something new about someone each day and watch the mood change. It’s simple yet underutilized.  Make a difference and start showing more care and concern today. 

I highly encourage folks to tune into Mark C. Crowley’s podcast “Lead From the Heart”.  He interviews exemplary leaders throughout the nation and shares how these leaders lead from the heart and through care and concern for others.

Photo by Renee Fisher