HEATHER: Hello, everyone, this is the Leadership with Heart podcast and this is Heather Younger, your host with our first episode. So, why did I decide to do a weekly podcast? Why did I call it Leadership with Heart? Why should anyone listen in? My why for rolling out this podcast has a lot to do with my why for the work that I do and how I interact with those around me. You see, I believe everyone’s voice is important. I believe that when people are able to express their true selves, they will change their organizations and their lives for the better. I enjoy helping people find their true voice by asking the right questions, being intuitive, and guiding them to their truth. I just happen to be an employee engagement and leadership strategist. This podcast is just another way to reveal the voices of employees and leaders around the world and help us all find our truth in what we hear.
My wish is that everyone listening will take away just one thing they can do as leaders to improve the lives of those they lead. Most of the time I will have a leader on that I have handpicked or has come to me from a referral. Other times, it may be just me sharing a new insight with you or I might bring on a frontline employee to talk about the impact a leader with heart had on them.
I named this podcast Leader with Heart because leaders are the one that predominantly drive employee experience, engagement, and loyalty. Those leaders who purposely exercise their power to be more emotionally intelligent in their communications and interactions show much more heart in the process. This display of heart keeps their team members and coworkers bonded to them and drives increased employee engagement loyalty. Leaders with heart are more endearing to those around them. When this type of leader is on a path, others naturally want to follow. Let me give you a couple examples. The first one is about the best boss I ever had; the second is an exchange I had with a team member.
In my role as a leader in a particular organization, the person I reported to was a leader with heart. He happened to have a lot of emotional and social intelligence. This did not mean he never disagreed with me or didn’t occasionally caution me when I might be going down the wrong road, or even maybe slap my hand when he needed to. What it did mean is that he was very aware of my mental state and showed a great amount of empathy and compassion. He was interested in growing me as a leader, which was evidenced in him providing the opportunities to shine and to learn new skills. He listened very well to every story I had to tell. He would take the time and just be with me and not for any particular agenda or for any particular reason. I recall how he would just stop by my office and chat. In short, he made me feel important. I would have gone to war for him. He was the best boss I ever had.
So, some years back I was interviewing a prospective employee and I had a team member in the room with me. And the prospective employee asked my team member, “What’s so great about your team? Why should I join your team in particular?” So, I was kind of impressed by the question and I was a little nervous about what my team member might say. So, he paused for a minute and it seemed like it was forever. And he looked up and he said, “This lady, right here,” and I looked behind me and I almost fell off my chair and said, “What?” And he says, “Yes, you, and let me tell you why. Before she came, no one would stop by and say hello to us. No one would ever ask us what it was we needed to make our jobs easier. No one really took the time to just see how things were going. We were like numbers in a distant universe. But then when she came along, she immediately began to set up one-on-one conversations with us, weekly. She would ask us what we were doing and what she could do to remove any barriers in our way, she even tried to grow us and help us move along in our career path. She really just showed that she cared.”
Okay, I have to say, after I heard all of this I was humbled, I was shocked, but I do have to say that I thought about everything I’d done over the years to become that better leader and it prepared me to receive the message I was hearing right at that particular time. Do you notice he didn’t mention anything about money or perks or anything that cost a thing? He didn’t. And it was because employee experience is significantly more about emotions than anything else and those leaders who drive those positive emotions are the ones who are able to engage their people more and this story exhibits that. So, these are the types of stories I will uncover in this podcast and I will bring them to you. They will both teach us and inspire us. Let’s have some fun.