Leadership Tensions: Head vs. Heart (Part 2)

Last week we started the discussion about the leadership tension of head vs. heart.  Most of us have a tendency to either lead more logically or lead more emotionally but I think our best leadership emerges when we learn to employ them both.

So what does that look like?

One particular story comes to mind…

Several years ago we were experiencing a pretty lean financial year at Cross Point.  I repeatedly was making tough decisions about what we could and couldn’t afford to do.  I felt like I was constantly telling our staff “no” to what would ordinarily be reasonable expenses.  They felt frustrated and defeated and I felt like the big mean boss.

In a moment of frustration one employee unloaded on me.  What I realized from this person’s exasperation was that they felt that I was making purely logical “head” decisions with no concern for the employees who were having to live out those decisions.  While it’s true that I may have not been fully aware of the impact of the limited budgets they were working with, I was actually making a “heart” decision in that I was watching every penny and managing things so intensely because I didn’t want any employee to be let go for budgetary reasons.  I was making a head and heart decision but I had failed to explain that to those who were impacted by it.

This is an example of how head and heart have to work together.  My mistake in this situation was failing to communicate effectively with my team so that they understood that I was leading from both.

Do you have a tendency to make heart decisions or head decisions? 

How could you more effectively use both?


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