We know how important the heart is to our existence as human beings, and we certainly know what can happen when the heart is not functioning as it should. The same is true for businesses with leaders who attempt to lead without heart.

When I think about leaders with heart, I think about courage. I have had the good fortune to be associated with The Ken Blanchard Companies for more than 10 years, and to me, there is no individual who more represents the ideal of a leader with heart – and courage — than Ken Blanchard. Ken is a luminary in leadership worldwide, so I have always looked for his kind of heart when either coaching a leader or consulting with an organization.

In his book, “Leading at a Higher Level,” Ken talks about Servant Leadership and says that effective leadership is “a question of the heart” and that “getting the heart right” is critical. The question then: Are you a leader with heart?

To me, a leader with heart has confidence, trust, honesty, transparency, focus, vulnerability, humility and of course courage. Now, imagine the leader who demonstrates all or most of those characteristics. More importantly, imagine a company, business or organization guided by that kind of a leader. How cool would it be to be an employee of such a company? I know from experience that having such a leader at the helm does wonders for customer and employee retention.

Leading with heart requires taking an introspective look at oneself, that real moment of self–examination. Yes, that sounds a bit Zen, and get over it. Human beings are like high performing engines and as such need a tune-up every once in a while, just like our annual physical check-up.

Leaders and business owners have you had your annual check-up? Have you taken a look inside? What did you discover and more important, did you like what you saw?

Go for the annual check-up and test your heart as a leader or business owner and be sure to ask these questions:

  • How are your confidence and trust levels between you and your employees?
  • How about that focus, vulnerability and humility?
  • Finally, how is your courage? Are you willing to do the things that are not easy but that are good for the company?

Is it time for your annual tune-up? Maybe you should check with your employees and customers to see how that leadership heart is functioning. Please do not go another year without this important check-up.  After all, heart is at the center of organizational performance. I’m curious to see whether you are in need of that external defibrillator. If so, give me a call.

John S. Arnold is Executive Coach, Business Consultant, Speaker and Author at John S. Arnold.  John can be reached at john@johnsarnold.com or 954.796.6001.