Courage is at the heart of leadership. We know that people are not resisting change as much as resisting the loss of connections, control, clarity and competence that often happens when stepping outside one’s comfort zone. Still, we as leaders push forward and aim for continued improvement. We seek a greater level of excellence and want to create this vision at the day to day level.
Along with courage, we need something else. As Ron Heiftz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky in their book, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World (Harvard Business Press, 2009) write: “To lead your organization through adaptive change, you need the ability to inspire. Adaptive challenges involve values, not simply facts or logic. And resolving them engages people’s beliefs and loyalties, which lie in their hearts, not their heads.”
John Kotter in his book, The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations (Harvard Business School Press, 2002) writes: “The single most important message in this book is very simple. People change what they do less because they are given analysis that shifts their thinking than because they are shown a truth that influences their feelings.”
Heiftz, Grashow and Linsky acknowledge this understanding when they write: “You need to strengthen two skills to master the ability to inspire: listening from the heart and speaking from the heart. After all, you cannot connect deeply with people unless you know what is in their hearts and what is in yours.”
This week and every week, pause on a regular basis and listen to your heart, and listen with your heart. This combination has the potential to be transformative for you and many other people.