Leaders: The Pandemic Has Revealed the Truth About Your Heart. Do You Like What You See?

Style Magazine Newswire | 5/20/2020, 2:25 p.m.

A couple months ago, a crisis hit the world—one that changed almost everything about how companies operate. We all know the details, so no need to enumerate them here. But as we continue to navigate this fearful, uncertain, emotionally charged stretch of history, Deb Boelkes wants leaders to ask themselves a big question: What has the pandemic taught you about the role your heart plays in your leadership style?

"Times of crisis and extreme change have a way of revealing hidden truths," says Boelkes, author of Heartfelt Leadership: How to Capture the Top Spot and Keep on Soaring (Business World Rising, 2020, ISBN: 978-1-734-07613-4, $19.95). "It shows us what we're made of. It shows the people around us what we're made of. And while many leaders have had to make really tough decisions in the upheaval caused by COVID-19, the way they did those things speaks volumes."

In other words, if you had to lay people off, did you do it with love and concern? Were you patient as employees struggled to balance their newly remote jobs with home schooling and child care? Did you say thank you? Did you double-down on efforts to keep people engaged and inspired? Did you continue to nurture their growth and push them to live up to their potential?

All these are the attributes of what Boelkes calls a "heartfelt leader." They mean you don't lead only with your head—always putting goals and profits ahead of people—but you also care deeply about employees' well-being. (It's not an either/or proposition, she says. People who truly believe you care work harder and are more engaged, making it a smart financial strategy.)

In Heartfelt Leadership, Boelkes lays out the path to leading with the heart. Full of real stories and lessons from top heartfelt executives, the book will help you learn to transform from a person people follow because they have to, to one they want to follow.

Now that the dust is starting to settle and businesses are—ever so slowly—starting back down the road to normalcy, Boelkes urges you to take a good hard look at your own "heartfelt quotient" and see how you stack up. Here are a few things heartfelt leaders regularly do:

They give their personal best every moment. "My first job working for a major corporation was at Disneyland," says Boelkes. "My high school drill team auditioned and was selected to perform together throughout the winter holiday season. I was a 'marching card,' the ace of clubs with the Alice in Wonderland dance unit. Once we had the job, we each gave our personal best every single moment. We competed against ourselves to set new personal best records with each ensuing performance. If any one of us made a wrong move, it impacted all of us, and it certainly impacted our 'guests.' We all depended on each other. Disneyland depended on us. The audience who had paid so dearly to attend depended on us. If any one of us failed individually, we all failed. We had to work together at peak performance, in perfect unison, every single time. We had to be perfect. No excuses. Ever. Disneyland set a bar for job performance and work ethic against which I have measured every other career and customer service experience I have ever encountered throughout my life. My heartfelt thanks will forever go to Walt Disney and all the Disneyland cast and crew members for that incredibly important lesson."