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Introduction to leadership from the heart

Are you ready to lead with your heart? “In the past, jobs were about muscle, now they are about brains, but in the future they’ll be about the heart.” – Minouche...

Written by: Rachel Barratt, Director

Written by: Rachel Barratt, Director

Rachel has worked in HR for over 23 years at both Board and Operational level. During this time she has coached all levels of staff in effective HR Management skills including providing advice on complex employee rights issues and employment legislation. After working in London for 15 years and due to wanting to spend more time with her 2 young Daughters she decided that she would re focus her attention, skills and expertise more locally by supporting businesses with their Human Resource needs thus setting up HR Elite Ltd in 2010.

Rachel has worked in HR for over 23 years at both Board and Operational level. During this time she has coached all levels of staff in effective HR Management skills including providing advice on complex employee rights issues and employment legislation. After working in London for 15 years and due to wanting to spend more time with her 2 young Daughters she decided that she would re focus her attention, skills and expertise more locally by supporting businesses with their Human Resource needs thus setting up HR Elite Ltd in 2010.

Are you ready to lead with your heart?

“In the past, jobs were about muscle, now they are about brains, but in the future they’ll be about the heart.”

Minouche Shafik, Director, London School of Economics

As a specialist in leadership this is without a doubt my most favourite quote of the moment and one that we should be paying a lot of attention to.

We can all imagine (some of us may still even remember) the days of working in the mills, going down the mines, working on the production line of big Motor Companies, a time when MUSCLE was certainly required in the jobs we done.  Now with so much technology at our disposal, some of which has taken those muscle jobs from us, working at a desk, never ending brain numbing meetings, nearly all of us are experiencing jobs of the brain!

But what of the heart for the future, what does this mean?  How on earth will our heart do our jobs for us? 

Being from the Generation X era, living through the old control and command management days, the way management and leadership has changed over the last 10-15 years has fascinated me.  But even more so I’m constantly being asked – WHY ARE THE YOUNGER GENERATION SO DIFFICULT TO MANAGE – THEY ARE SO SENSITIVE?

Having two beautiful Daughters who fall into the Gen Z category and of whom one is actually a team member of HR Elite and with a workforce full of Millennials and Gen Z’s my fascination has somehow turned into an addiction which has led me to be determined to assist our clients with this all important question.  The answer is simple.  You can’t manage and lead these people in the same way you were led and managed – you are now required to lead with your heart!

What do our Millennial and Gen Z staff want?

  • Better work/life balance – working 9-5, Monday to Friday earning as much money as possible is not what they want from life. Climbing the corporate ladder at the expense of suffering stress and anxiety is not important to them.  They have been brought up in a world where they have seen their parents ‘slogging their guts out’ to get by and have seen the impact this has had, they don’t want this for themselves.  They are of a generation where life is for living, not earning every little penny by putting your health and relationships at risk.
  • More autonomy to perform their jobs – we have an intelligent bunch of youngsters coming into the workplace now, they have the confidence to challenge set ways, they think outside the box and believe there isn’t just one way of doing things. They know technology inside out and therefore why shouldn’t we allow them a bit more autonomy in how they perform their roles.  So long as you still get the desired outcomes I am sure there are better or different ways of performing roles.  Don’t suffocate this energy and enthusiasm!
  • Corporate/social responsibility – the younger generation want to work for companies who are doing their bit for society, for the local community. They don’t want to work for big ‘greedy money monsters’.  Where a company is financially successful they expect to see some of this being invested into helping others or where this can really make a difference.
  • Learning and development – this is hugely important for the younger workforce. They have been brought up in a system where learning has been a major part of their younger lives, education has never been better and the opportunities to go to College and University have been on offer to most.  They want to continue this learning in the workplace, they have a desire to develop and to keep continually up to date, their brains have evolved in this way.
  • Led not managed– Millennials and Gen Z’s are not scared to leave an employer if they feel they are not being treated fairly, with respect and in the right way. Our younger counterparts want to feel happy and satisfied in work and with the work that they do and if they don’t they will leave and go find this somewhere else.

I have named only but a few expectations from our younger workforce, believe me, there are a lot more, but if we look at all of the above and we want to get these right can’t you see how much the heart comes into this – and this is why I do disagree slightly with my most favourite quote of the moment in that I don’t think the future will be about the heart… I think the future of the heart is right here, right now!

So, how do we lead our younger generation in today’s world of work?

Three major areas I believe us Gen X’s need to work on are:

  1. Awareness – of self and others
  2. Empathy
  3. Social skills

Having been brought up in a working world of control and command it could have quite easily become my inherent management style.  However, I am driven to be the best leader I can be, I want to support my staff in the best way I can, I want to help and assist our clients in the best way they can lead and manage their staff and ultimately it is my passion to help individuals strive to be the best they can be.

Some of the tools and techniques I have used are:

  1. Personality Testing – We are fortunate to have in house qualification and expertise in Myers Briggs Type Indicator, not only have we had a lot of fun with this, knowing my personality type and that of others has really helped me to understand myself, why I act and behave the way I do sometimes, how I can put myself in the other type and how best to communicate and approach my team knowing what their natural personality preferences are.
  2. Understanding Emotional Intelligence – This has been amazing! Daniel Goleman is one of my favourite people in helping me to develop a much better awareness of myself, to reflect and manage my behaviours and emotions to get the best out of a situation or from a person, to be more empathetic and to develop my social skills to form fabulous working relationships with my staff which ultimately leads to us all striving to perform to our best.
  3. Performance Coaching – currently moving through a coaching certification I have found the coaching approach to be instrumental in helping staff to take ownership of their work, projects, tasks, goals etc. This can be achieved through smart questioning techniques which lead to the individual going off to do something where they are fully engaged and where they totally own that piece of work.  The results have been out of this world.
  4. Mindfulness and Heart Focused Breathing – I appreciate this is not for everyone, even I was a sceptic for many years regarding it as hippy stuff from the 70’s! But when deciding to give it a chance the results of practicing this over a period of time have been invaluable to me not only in relation to me managing my emotions, stress and anxiety but by also allowing me to have a different perspective on lots of things.  I am so less inclined to react now and I also look at things with a much more positive outlook now always trying to see the good in things first rather than assuming someone is doing something to be difficult or because they don’t care or can’t perform.

Let us again take a look at the above.  This is all about emotion, all about the heart.  See, leading from the heart is already happening, it’s definitely working for me and having implemented some of this work recently with some of our clients they will back me up me in saying it is also working for them.

Are you prepared to give it a go and embrace this new way of leadership like I have done?

Leading from the heart is an absolute passion of mine and I will be writing a lot more about this so if it interests you or if you think it will benefit you keep an eye out for more content on this.  I have only touched the surface!

If I have particularly grabbed your interest and you want to join our leadership Facebook group please contact me at rachel.barratt@hrelite.co.uk and we will set you up.

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