There’s nothing new in the belief that leadership is an affair of the heart; after all, it’s been a central plank of The Leadership Challenge™ programme which was devised by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner almost 30 years ago. What is new is that this ethos of leading hearts and minds has become increasingly significant as organisations move towards innovating and building a culture of innovation.
When we work in hierarchies and processes leaders can almost be forgiven for tending towards management of people’s actions rather than leadership of the people themselves. But, when we work in open, agile, collaborative innovation we have to look more towards inspiring, enabling and encouraging the heart.
It’s a theme which was picked up in June in the Harvard Business Review when Gary Hamel talked about a dramatic change which one American healthcare centre brought about thanks to changing the emphasis from metrics to one of the heart. Simply by challenging those within the health centre to bring their hearts to work, to relate to patients more directly and to make caring a more personal experience, the health centre moved customer satisfaction scores from below 50% to 95%.
It’s a lesson which everyone business can learn from, regardless of the sector in which they operate and it is particularly a lesson which those looking to move towards a more collaborative and innovative methodology would do well to learn. Yes, facts and metrics should not be ignored but if we really want to connect with our customers and create great solutions for them then we have to start innovating with our hearts.