Heart-Mind Leadership

Strong Mind 

Independence

Confidence

Integrity

Courage

Focus

Will

Open Heart 

Vulnerability

Compassion

Generosity

Flexibility

Kindness

Faith


Different.

But not opposite.

Divergent.

But not opposed.

Distinct.

But not distant.


Draw from both sources and we are more balanced.

Balance empowers right actions.

Right actions lead to better outcomes.


How do we develop a strong mind?

Overcoming

Uncertainty

Difficulty

Failure

Risk

Pain

How do we create an open heart?

Embracing – 

Uncertainty

Difficulty

Failure

Risk

Pain

Two possibilities rooted in the same experience.

To overcome we use our minds. We understand. Learn. React.

To embrace we use our hearts. We accept. Appreciate. Grow.

We cannot truly overcome what we don’t embrace. As Hemingway noted, we become “strong at the broken places.” We do not break while we while we still resist. A necessary part of overcoming is embracing.

A strong mind needs an open heart.


Another challenge is listening to both heart and mind without experiencing it as conflict. One way to do this is to think of our inner dialogue as two parts of the same story. And every good story includes tension.

The tension reminds us to imagine a resolution that benefits the unique actors in our story. A resolution formed in a strong mind and an open heart.

While it does require more effort and creativity, learning to live and lead in this tension will allow us to avoid the consequences that come with listening to only one part of the story.

We may not always get it right but if our goal is to create long-term, sustainable success, this mindset will greatly improve our chances.


A leader who embraces the tension can work effectively in the realms of both projects and people; adapting to the situation with the balance required to serve the needs of the organization.

Needs that are bound to the mind and heart.

2 comments

  1. Love it. While we are naturally hardwired to be most comfortable in the realm of projects or people we can and do learn to work effectively in both, if we are conscious and intentional. Appreciate the reminder.

    Reply

    1. Thank you, Kaye. I’m glad you found the post helpful. I agree, we tend to lean one way or the other depending on a number of factors and personal experience. The thought here is to hear both sides of the story and let this inform our actions.

      Reply

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