A lot of times, leaders are encouraged to be rational rather than heart-centred during decision-making. A rational leader focuses on logic, facts, and rules, not feelings. On the other hand, a heart-centred leader focuses on intuition and beliefs and makes decisions based on what feels right at that moment.

Even though the contemporary business environment is highly competitive, and it focuses on statistics, facts and figures, working with human beings with emotions makes it difficult to be a purely rational leader. For example, if a leader only focuses on productivity and work rules, how will they deal with an employee’s well-being?

A heart-centred leader is guided by values, which I refer to as your ‘emotional compass’. Values guide our decisions and actions and compel us to stand for our beliefs and lean into what matters. Values also provide a sense of clarity of what a leader’s deepest desires are. Values like integrity, honesty, and empathy are highly required in an organisation and should be used to guide a leader’s decision-making process.

Here’s how to be a heart-centred leader.

Be Introspective

A team member has lost a loved one, but no one will cover their shift if they leave. What do you do? Leading by heart largely calls for reflecting on your emotions. Sometimes it is about understanding that there’s more to life than profits and rules. You may need to bend the rules because of what you feel and instead offer support and compassion. Therefore, leading by the heart is always about listening to your heart.

Put Your Employees First

Employees are human beings, not machines. And guess what? Even machines break down when they’re not properly cared for. Forget about the statistics, graphs, and strict policies you modelled from a rival company; are your employees comfortable? Get real and find out what they feel. Do not hurt your team in your quest for maximum productivity. For example, making your team work long hours without considering their mental and physical health is an ingredient, ironically, for low productivity.

To be heart-centred, you must have the emotional intelligence to recognise and interpret your team’s emotions and learn when they are comfortable, when to cheer them up, when to push them and when to stop.

Lead By Example

Practice self-awareness. A heart-centred leader models the behaviours and values they want to see in their employees. Do you want your team to be centred on respect and honesty? Well, take charge and be respectful and honest first. Lead by example by practising your values in and out of the organisation. Be consistent. Do not be heart-centred on a section of your team and neglect the other.

Be Open-Minded

Leading by heart means you have to unlearn ineffective, old-fashioned attitudes, business rules, and norms. Reprogram your mind to adopt new paradigms and perspectives favouring employee well-being and aspirations. For example, you may need to drop harsh policies that focus fundamentally on output and opt for more supportive and growth-oriented models.

Communicate and Collaborate

A heart-centred leader focuses on creating synergy. What if we all did this together to reach a common goal? Inform your team about your core principles and values so that they know what is expected of them. Also, listen carefully to your team’s concerns and better understand how to manage them.

Create Institutional Mechanisms For Expression

You must encourage your employees to open up if you want to be a heart-centred leader. To be fair, many people struggle with mental health issues, add to that a fast-paced life and this often means they lack ways to open up and seek help. Therefore, create institutions where your team members can open up in case they have issues, for example, the following:

  • One-on-one meetings- encourage talks where your team members can open up. Again, carefully use emotional integrity to understand people’s emotions.
  • Anonymous feedback systems- for example, utilise suggestion boxes to get your team’s thoughts.
  • Resource groups- help your team members create resource groups to help each other out. Help whenever necessary.
  • Guidance and counselling services.


Practice Positive Values

Generally, being heart-centred means practising positive values and avoiding values that may undermine your team’s well-being. The top values a heart-centred leader can have are compassion, empathy, integrity, inclusivity, honesty, transparency, humility, respect, and authenticity.

 Finally, I’d like you to consider; Using logic fundamentally to lead a team may be a thing of the past.

New studies show that a good balance between rationality and emotional intelligence produces optimum results. Treat your team as human beings with emotions rather than simply resources to be managed. However, you should be careful because too much emotional leadership can lead to impulsive and erratic decision-making.

If you’d like to dig deeper to access your personal values, become Emotionally Fit, or talk further about heart-centred leadership, simply get in touch, I’d love to have a chat.