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Heart Leaders: Harnessing Emotion in Leadership
Mature Heart leaders are the masters of emotional leadership. They are emotionally intelligent, self-aware, and capable of reading the emotions of others. Heart leaders are also empathic and can easily engage and motivate their teams. Leadership coaching can help immature heart leaders close the gap between their abilities and potential.
“A good leader has a compass in their head and magnet in their heart.” – Howard G. Hendricks.
Emotional intelligence and self-awareness are the cornerstones of intelligent leadership. Leaders who predominantly lead with their hearts enjoy an advantage in this sense. Emotional leadership is natural for such people. They tend to understand their emotions better and can connect more easily with the emotions of others.
From the perspective of leadership coaching, Helpers, Artists, and Entertainers all belong to the heart category of the Map of Leadership Maturity.
Mature Heart leaders know how to motivate their teams emotionally.
What Makes Heart Leaders Special
Heart leaders are what psychologists would call Feelers. I must point out that while Heart leaders all tend to rely predominantly on emotional leadership, few of them are pure Feelers. Most leaders combine the leadership tendencies and proclivities of many leadership types from the Map of Leadership Maturity.
Being a Heart leader doesn’t exclude reason and logic from one’s leadership. It merely gives emotions a more significant overall weight.
Emotions represent the strength and weakness of Heart leaders. When coupled with leadership maturity, emotions become the essence that people admire and respect about these leaders. Their brand of emotional leadership is well-rounded, solid, predictable, and highly empathic.
In the absence of maturity to rein in the destructive side of emotional leadership, Heart leaders can derail. When they do, they develop identity crises, feeling that their followers cannot appreciate them for who they are.
Mature Heart leaders develop their identities seemingly effortlessly. Their effective emotional leadership helps them build socially admirable personas without trying hard. Successful leadership tends to lead to such positive side effects in general.
- Artists build their identities around uniqueness, individuality, and a dose of quirkiness.
- Helpers like to serve others and like the world around them to see them as such. Their identity-related goal is likeability.
- Entertainers are the rock stars of their organizations. They want their identities to reflect their social success and the appreciation of their peers and reports.
The problems emerge for Heart leaders when they engage in intentional image-building. Once they do that, they shift their focus from the emotional leadership that is their strength to create fake identities they feel society will appreciate.
Emotional leadership is about genuine engagement. It is about seeing employees and peers through the eyes of empathy. There is nothing fake or artificial about it. Once Heart leaders venture down the road of artificial image-building, they allow their weaknesses to guide them instead of their strengths.
Nothing frustrates Heart leaders more than their inability to communicate their emotions. In response, they may develop resentment toward others or themselves.
Helpers value relationships over results.
Derailing Helpers allow their most extreme feelings to guide their leadership. Their ultimate desire is for their peers and employees to admire and respect them. Their basic fear is disrespect and lack of gratitude from those they help. Since they see themselves as hard workers and servant leaders, this lack of gratitude can irritate them no end.
The goodness and service derailing Helpers show calls attention to themselves. Unless they get that attention, derailing Helpers may feel they have failed. To get the respect and admiration they need, they may complain and engage in manipulative acts.
Slightly more mature Helpers retain many of the negative traits of derailing Helpers. More specifically, they:
- Continue demonstrating their emotions
- Talk a lot about caring and helping without putting these concepts into practice
- May become so eager to appear helpful that they interfere and meddle with matters beyond their scope
- Try to manipulate those they think owe them gratitude
- Like to have people depend on them for advice and guidance
Leadership maturity can defeat all these negative leadership traits and proclivities. Mature Helpers are calm, supportive, and ready to share their personal feelings. They are generous leaders who appreciate meaningful relationships more than task-oriented results.
Such leaders know how to handle conflict and have a knack for business coaching.
Immature Entertainers have an unquenchable thirst to be the stars of the show. They want appreciation and highly visible social success. To achieve their ambitions, they won’t refrain from underhanded and devious practices to manipulate others.
Derailing Entertainers fail to adopt an abundance mindset. They find others’ success offensive and will stab people in the back to get ahead.
Even more mature Entertainers may be tempted to focus on style over substance and compare themselves to others. They are, however, goal-oriented and efficient leaders.
Fully mature Entertainers are truly efficient leaders. They are confident, enthusiastic, and understand what they want.
From the perspective of leadership coaching, working with such leaders is a boon. Such leaders desire improvement and understand how their strengths and weaknesses stack up.
Mature Entertainers are also popular and can easily influence and motivate their employees.
Creativity is one of the superpowers of Artist leaders.
Creativity and innovation are among the strengths of Artist leaders. From a business coaching perspective, dealing with such a leader involves defeating negativity, depression, and the avoidance of responsibilities.
Immature Artists have a difficult time sharing their feelings and ideas with others. Once internalized, their feelings may devolve into a destructive force of self-hatred, doubt, and negativity.
Due to their internalized feelings, immature artists may have problems building meaningful relationships with others.
Once executive coaching brings Artists out of immaturity, they remain difficult to handle for their peers and employees. They may resist maturity by shying away from conflict and retreating into their inner fantasy worlds. Artists tend to be impractical. And they may continue to struggle to express their feelings.
With the assistance of an executive coaching professional Artists can turn into mature, respectful leaders comfortable with showing their feelings. Mature artists are compassionate. They are unafraid to discuss their feelings and fears and can achieve high levels of creativity.
Ready to embrace change, Artists are often the drivers of change through their innovations.
“Great leadership usually starts with a willing heart, a positive attitude, and a desire to make a difference.” – Mac Anderson.
Heart leaders like Artists, Entertainers, and Helpers struggle with their identities and emotions. Mature heart leaders are great at emotional leadership. Leadership coaching can help those with derailing tendencies achieve maturity and fulfill their leadership potential. Harnessing emotions is the key to achieving maturity for Heart leaders.