About a year ago, the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University sent me this book- The Heart Led Leader by Tommy Spaulding. The book was actually a signed copy by the author and like all nice gifts I get from various things I’m involved in, I sort of sat it aside thinking, “Okay, I’ll get to it one day.”
I would find it stacked up under a pile of forms or the budget book or something like that, and I would usually just scoot it to the side. From time to time, I would pick it up, read the description again, and sort of turn up my nose. “The heart led leader” – ugh.
If you know anything about me, I tend to pride myself on saying things with no holds barred and giving it to you straight. Be damned the idea of hurt feelings. You need to suck it up and pull it together. Win! Fight! Go team, go!
Yeah, how’s that working out for me? The truth is, I am winning, but I’m stressed and I just might be leaving a trail of carnage behind me. It is not like I intentionally burn bridges, but I am quick to cut ties if someone or something does not suit my “winner” mentality.
Since the pandemic, I’ve been spending more time alone and thinking about what really matters to me the most. Each year, I come up with a theme word to try to live my life by and one word in particular comes up over and over, and that word is peace.
I’ve spent 47 years trying to find peace, cultivate peace, just trying to BE a more peaceful person. It has taken me this long to realize that peace comes from one place – THE HEART.
This last time I stumbled across the book, I decided that it was finally time to read it. And I am so glad that I did. I was captivated by the first chapter.
I’ve read plenty of self-help books and leadership books and everything else in-between. This book actually held my interest, touched even the coldest of hearts, and has made a lasting impact on what kind of leader, rather, what kind of person I want to be.
I work in what some might consider a quasi-corporate environment. It is government and there are tons of best practices and procedures and protocols people follow. Not a lot of warm & fuzzys, however, I am in the business of selling warm and fuzzy. How do the two go together for workplace culture?
I’ve led numerous team-building exercises, staff retreats and even community-wide retreats and I am always trying get people to dig deeper. I’ve been laughed at for the “positive energy” I try to bring to my department. Many of the managers I work with seem to pride themselves on being cold and stand-offish.
Not me. And not ever again.
Just when I thought, “Maybe I should be a hard ass and just demand more from my staff,” I picked up the book and realized that creating a space where people can thrive, care for one another, and depend on each other is a much better way to lead. I want to leave a legacy and for my team to feel like they grew and to know that I cared. Heck, that we all cared for one another.
I see absolutely nothing wrong with that.
And that, my friends, is what the Heart Led Leader is all about.
If you are looking for a book that will inspire, perhaps shift your perception of what a corporate environment should be like, then give the Heart Led Leader a try.