Is your team’s heart in it?

Jim Kouzes, co-author of The Leadership Challenge, shared this story with me:

While meeting with leaders at one of the largest technology companies in the world, he shared his assessment of what was required for the organization to succeed. In the details, he included the need for leaders to model the practice of “encouraging the heart.”

After the discussion, the coordinator of the meeting reported to Jim that, “The team agrees with your assessment and is excited to move forward. However, they ask that you drop the soft stuff about encouraging the heart.”

Laughing as he relayed the story, Jim said he replied, “No deal. Because that’s exactly what your leaders need to do to overcome the challenges the business faces.”

The client acquiesced, and then proceeded to succeed in achieving their big objectives.

Dismissing the human heart as “soft stuff” means relegating yourself to a workplace where interactions have little meaning; which means little will be achieved. Committing to a work experience where team members care – about the work they do and each other – transforms the power of you.

As Kouzes reminds us in his work, every member of the team must be a leader. Today, you can ask: As a team, is our whole heart in the work we do? And what must we do to make it more so?

P.S. Jim, and his co-author, Barry Posner, are releasing the sixth edition of the Leadership Challenge this summer. If you’re a fan of an earlier edition, you’re going to love the latest. Get ahead of the crowd here.


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