Leadership: How “Hearts In” CEOs Are The Most Successful Leaders
As the world of business continues to transform, so does how founders and CEOs should lead. Out of this new mindset, highly engaged workplaces and teams are beginning to see a significant dichotomy forming between ‘hearts-in’ and ‘hands-off’ leadership styles. This is a new concept to me. Apparently the hearts-in leadership style refers to authentically engaged leaders who don’t put themselves above those they lead-instead they immerse themselves in anything they ask of others and more. This is in direct contrast to the all too familiar hands-off approach (which is probably more prevalent) of being a more distant leader that offers strategy, directional, and a managerial mindset-which might even be characterized as old school. With today’s increasingly competitive global market, the fight for the best talent is intensifying and leadership styles can often be the key difference in attracting top talent. This is a critical factor as traditional barriers that once hindered the movement of the workforce are no longer relevant with Gallup finding that millennials are the most likely generation to switch jobs. As a result, companies can no longer take talent for granted but instead need to also build loyalty through innovative leadership. With these new realities facing leaders it’s not enough to lead with technical proficiency, that is abundantly available, rather leaders must differentiate themselves by focusing on the human element and leveraging their (own) emotional intelligence. In this environment, the hearts-in approach is quickly proving to be the more effective leadership style to creating and sustaining an engaged workforce.
Take This Quick Quiz To See If You Are A Hearts-In Leader Or Work For OneGettyThe research on hearts-in leadership is still emerging, but so far it has shown incredible promise in guiding C-suite inhabitants. After compiling data from over 125 of some of the most progressive organizations, ProHabits, the behavior change system, has uncovered the five key values the hearts-in approach contributes to achieving a more successful workplace. Take their quick assessment quiz and see if this matches or inspires your leadership style or if you are working with a hearts-in or hearts-out leader. There's a common thread that defines the hearts-in leader. See if you can identify it.
Practice What You Preach. Being a hearts-in leader means being present among those you lead. To achieve this, a hearts-in leader should aim to be the most active participant in their own initiatives.
Let Values Guide Your Behavior. This may seem obvious but value-guided behavior is an extension of practicing what you preach. If your organization’s values aren’t prominently displayed by its leadership (and you) who else will take them seriously?
Show Your Vulnerability. Authenticity is key to the hearts-in approach and nothing demonstrates authenticity more than vulnerability. This can mean a lot of things, but focus on the struggles (often the process and difficult decisions) that you face in achieving your goals and aspirations both inside and outside the company.
Make Yourself Available. Often easier said than done, hearts-in leaders must be ready and willing to personally engage with those they lead.
Remain Visible. When seeing an initiative succeed it can be tempting for leaders to take a step back. It turns out the consistent, visible presence of the CEO is key to sustained engagement and thus to the success of the hearts-in approach. Finally, according to ProHabits, the added bonus of authentically embracing this leadership style is that up to 83.2% of team members at organizations with a hearts-in CEO actively commit to performing value-aligned behaviors. This is then shown to have a marked improvement on team unity and KPIs such as net promoter scores (which measures customer experience and predicts business growth) and the frequency of leadership behaviors. Translation. Your company has a greater likelihood of exceeding its sales objectives. The bottom line is when CEOs are visibly engaged in value-based initiatives that are full of genuine purpose, team and employee engagement skyrockets; but when CEO participation is either not seen or not present, engagement shows an initial spike of enthusiasm, and then a sharp decline soon after. The choice is up to you.