11/16/2012 12:43 pm ET Updated Jan 16, 2013

Does Your Business Need CPR?

5 Easy Ways to Lead with Your Heart

You can have the most brilliant management staff with the best degrees from the top schools in the country, but if your managers don't bring heart to the table, you may find your company struggling to grow and thrive.

Has your company hit a plateau? Executives are constantly evaluating what works and what doesn't. Every day we, as leaders, are running through our processes and evaluating our company's performance through a myriad of assessments and diagnostics. What's working? What's not? How can we be more productive? How do we trim the fat to increase the bottom line? One thing we neglect to monitor is the heartbeat of the company. The heart of the company is directly connected to the central lifeline of a company's success. When the heart of the company is not thumping in unison with the vision, goals and direction you want your business to head, it becomes harder to keep it alive.

The key to running a successful business goes far beyond your ability to manage your people in a typical management format. You must also know how to lead with your heart. A good manager must model more than good leadership skills; they need to model enthusiasm, passion, heart and soul. Being a heart-strong leader helps employees take more pride and ownership in their jobs.

Leading with your heart doesn't make you soft or weak, as a matter of fact -- it's just the opposite. When you lead with your heart, you give more of yourself. You can teach by example by affirming the lasting values of integrity when making decisions. When you make decisions with your brain only or based on numbers in the checkbook or reports you tend to remain overly conservative and stagnant. There's nothing inspiring about status quo. It is when you open yourself up to new possibilities and explore all that there is and lead with your heart that things can happen with higher purpose. When you lead with your heart and feel from inside your soul you can effectively build a great business and a great team. Our best instincts are driven from our heart.

It's not too late. Even if you've noticed a decline in productivity, employee retention, and your company has hit a plateau, it's not too late to turn it around with the assistance of your positive moral compass.

Try this: The next meeting or conference call you have, take extra note of your passion level. Be aware. Do your best to inspire your team with your affection for the task at hand and the possibilities of a clear-cut successful outcome. Come to the meeting with a new outlook about leading with your heart. You'll be more present. Notice the difference in how it feels to teach and speak from your heart as a manager vs. dictating and speaking over people. Let the best of you shine, be aware of your choice in words and come from a place of encouragement, compassion and inspiration. When you speak and direct from your heart, it will be evident to your team. You become their revelation. You remind them to find the passion in their jobs, to approach their positions with more zest and heart.

Here are five ways you can lead with your heart:

  1. Take a breath. When you focus on your breath, it helps to calm us. Listen to your breathing pattern. Slow down and put your hands to your heart. Try making a decision from this more relaxed and soothing place.
  2. Be fair. Listen to your heart and ask yourself if you are coming from a place of ego. Do you really have the best interest of all in mind? Or are you making a decision based on prior expectations?
  3. Ask yourself what the shared values, common purpose and commitments are and base your heartfelt decision from there.
  4. When making a decision, make a short list. Quickly jot down why something is a good idea and why something is a bad idea. Go with your gut and listen to your instincts.
  5. Lead with your heart. Turn to your character and do the right thing. You'll feel better in the morning!

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