Coaching Article – 3 Ways to Have a Heart in Leadership

A big event this month is Valentine’s Day. It’s a special time related to romance and love, so this is a reminder to all. Don’t forget—plan and be ready to recognize your loved ones.

Now, you may be wondering why Lee is bringing up this point in his leadership blog. Great question, glad you asked. Let’s explore this interesting relationship between leadership and love.

Love Begins Early in Life

Let’s start at the beginning of life—with babies. Neuroscience studies show that positive attention like smiles, winks, and gentle touch help develop key areas of the brain to produce a healthy worldview. It all starts with someone’s positive recognition of their being, and it brings what the scientists call “joy,” which is like what we would call love. In practical terms, it helps the baby feel safe and accepted.

Jumping ahead to children growing up, we know that those who have consistent unconditional love (and clear boundaries) are going to be healthier people than those who don’t. It’s true that through a strong spiritual faith, healthy friends and/or good counselors, we can overcome those missed opportunities of childhood even though it’s usually an ongoing struggle. None of us had a perfect home, so we all have some challenges in areas where we feel we are a bit lacking.

Romantic Love

In romantic commitments, we tend to connect and marry someone who believes in us—usually more than we believe in ourselves. Romance causes our brains to block out the negatives in a person and enhance their positives. I’m sure you have heard the expression, “love is blind, and marriage is an eye- opener.”

Having just read four great marriage books in prepping for our new book about romance stories of the Vietnam POWs, they all point out that marriages last where the couple is intentional about believing in the other and expressing it in various positive ways.

Love in Leadership

Watch my 5-minute coaching clip on how to show L-O-V-E in a genuine way –

Now, let’s jump to leadership. You should be able to trace back your success as an honorable leader to key people in your life that smiled at you, encouraged you, valued you, and especially important—they believed in you. When they smiled and expressed their confidence in you as a person, did you not feel joy? And did it not give you more confidence in who you are as a person?

This type of attention and positive affirmation helps us overcome our doubts, fears, insecurities, shame and guilt, and the healthier we can become, the better person, performer, and leader we can be. This type of positive influence is not only healthy but powerful.

Leadership is about Influence

“Many aspects of leadership are important, but if the sum doesn’t bring positive influence, you can never be an effective leader.” [Tweet This]

You may be thinking, “that sounds okay, but why bring in this romantic, touchy-feely word?” Here’s why.

The word “love” does sound a bit soft and is usually more related to marriage and family relationships, so I converted it to the expression “Connect with the Heart” as the title of a chapter in my book, Engage with Honor: Building a Culture of Courageous Accountability. When you genuinely demonstrate the more subtle rays that come from the concept of love, the recipient is inspired with more confidence, more positive emotions, more energy, and a greater desire to perform to meet or exceed your expectations.

“Connecting with the heart of others helps heal the feelings of lack and self-doubt from their past.” [Tweet This]

Yes, you are giving to others, but the return on your investment is going to be well worth it. Connecting with the heart is a powerful way to inspire others and increase your leadership influence.

Here are three tips to connect with the heart and increase your influence.


  1. Who influenced you positively as you were developing? How?
    • Did they believe in you?
    • Did they make you feel valued and important?
    • How did you respond? Did your loyalty and performance increase?
    • Did this encouragement help you to be the person you are today?


  1. Consider your own behaviors. How consistent are you in sending these rays of love to others that connect with their hearts?
    • You accept and care about them.
    • You clarify and help them develop their unique talents.
    • You believe in them more than they believe in themselves.
    • You offer smiles, encouraging words, and a listening ear.


  1. Come up with a plan to practice connecting with the hearts of others.
    • In professional and personal relationships, think of specific people, talents, times, and places that you can give positive influence that will lift them up and enable them to be all they can be.


One last tip. As you sign that Valentine’s card, why not pause to make a list of ways you can make your sweetheart feel more valued and important and see how that impacts your influence? Then do the same in your leadership and relationships with others.

I’m confident that you will see your influence increase at home and at work. Please post your story below and let us know how your rays of love have impacted others.

LE [Tweet This Article]


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