Mark C. Crowley

Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century

What people feel in their hearts has profound influence over their motivation & workplace performance.
“In contrast to longstanding management thinking, the heart is the driving force of human achievement, and employee engagement is a decision of the heart.”
– Mark C. Crowley
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Handwritten Notes Drive Uncommon Performance

Posted by on Jan 4, 2012 in Heart Leadership In Practice, Leadership, Life Lessons | 0 comments

Fountain Pen and A Handwritten NoteOn my most recent birthday, I got a call from a former employee, Lucas.

Now a very successful bank manager, Lucas was a brand-new teller when I first met him fifteen years ago in my role as Regional Manager.  After being seriously injured in a helicopter crash, he’d been forced to leave the Marine Corps to find an entirely new career.

With no banking experience, he was starting over from square one.

In our earliest conversation, Lucas told me he already was dreaming of becoming a branch manager and hoped to make that progression quickly.  Knowing the learning curve ahead of him was steep for these aspirations, I advised him to master every assignment he was given and to pursue excellence all along the way.

Based upon feedback I subsequently received from his different supervisors, it was clear Lucas took my advice to heart.  Quite consistently, I heard he was extremely hard working, committed to learning and contributing at exceptional levels.

Occasionally when Lucas earned a step up the ladder or helped his branch achieve an important goal, I sent him a handwritten note in acknowledgement.  Very briefly, I expressed my congratulations and appreciation — and encouraged him to stay the course with respect to his desire to become a manager.

Even though it had been over seven years since Lucas and I last worked together, during my birthday chat he surprised me by mentioning these very same notes!

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Your Best Boss Ever?

Posted by on Oct 12, 2011 in Heart Leadership In Practice, Leadership, Life Lessons | 0 comments

Lead From The Heart And People Will FollowI’d like for you to think back on all the bosses you’ve had in your life and identify which one of them was the best ever.

Once you have that person in mind, take a look at these two lists of attributes and see if one isn’t more descriptive:


Leader A

  • Inspiring
  • Appreciative
  • Natural
  • Candid
  • Constructive
  • Generous
  • Requesting
  • Sharing
  • Valuing
  • Unselfish

Leader B

  • Controlling
  • Envious
  • Artificial
  • Calculating
  • Destructive
  • Petty
  • Demanding
  • Hoarding
  • Exploitive
  • Selfish

It’s not much of a stretch for me to predict the greatest leader you’ve ever worked for is best described by the qualities of Leader A.  These are the higher consciousness-related characteristics of people who lead from the heart – and to great effect as you can attest.

Now I’d like for you to consider the descriptor “High Expectations” and determine under which list it best belongs – Leader A or B?

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Unite As A Team – And Win!

Posted by on Sep 14, 2011 in Heart Leadership In Practice, Leadership, Life Lessons | 0 comments

Unite as a team and Win

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned about leadership is how amazingly well employees perform when they’re united as a team and committed to a shared mission.

Several years ago, I was leading a region of 30 bank branches that had been consistently high achieving. Month in and month out, we ranked in the top 10% of the 85 nationwide regions – but never once had we led the firm.

One weekend, I took home a pile of reports and poured over them with a goal of identifying what specific performance distinguished the three highest performing regions. I was surprised to discover the gap between us was nowhere near as wide as I’d imagined.

In time for my next meeting with all my direct reports, I prepared a few slides which illustrated the results we would need to achieve in order to move to the top. Wanting to challenge my team to get the satisfaction that only comes from being number one, I asked them directly, “Why don’t we set our sights on becoming the best region in the bank?”

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Display Equanimity (And Never Lick Anyone’s Sandwich) When Others Succeed.

Posted by on Sep 7, 2011 in Heart Leadership In Practice, Leadership, Life Lessons | 0 comments

I have a twin brother and, as ten-year-old kids, we made a firm agreement: whoever made it into the TV room first got to pick which shows we watched.

More often than not, we enjoyed a lot of the same programs – Superman, the Three Stooges and Bugs Bunny cartoons. But there still were times when my getting into the den second meant I was stuck watching the Munsters – or some tedious game show – all at my brother’s insistence.

One afternoon, my brother had dibs in the room and proceeded to watch one show after another he knew I had absolutely no interest in. I sat stewing knowing he was the one in power – and quite unlikely to relinquish control.

After a couple hours of this, my brother suddenly got hungry and informed me that he was heading into the kitchen to make a sandwich and would return to watch more of his shows.

I, of course, promptly objected to his plan and reminded him that his leaving the den for even a second would make me the first one in. I told him directly that my shows were going on just as soon as he left the room.

In that moment (and perhaps all moments), my brother was much more clever than I was. He went to the doorway and laid himself on the ground. With his toes still touching the carpet in the den, he reached around into the kitchen and grabbed one of the many floor rugs my mother had placed there.

Brilliantly, he used that first rug to overlap the carpet in the den and then proceeded to build a chain of connected rugs allowing him to go fully into the kitchen, make himself a huge sandwich and, technically, remain in the den all at the same time.

In the moment, I saw my brother’s genius and knew I’d been beaten.

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Just Because You Work For A Jerk Doesn’t Mean You Have To Manage Like One!

Posted by on Aug 31, 2011 in Heart Leadership In Practice, Leadership, Wisdom From Other Authors | 0 comments

There have been lots of reports lately suggesting that many people believe they work for a really bad boss.

Whether or not that’s true for you today, it’s quite likely that you’ve worked for someone during your career who displayed abominable leadership skills and made your life unnecessarily miserable.

So, think of your worst boss ever and see if they were as bad as mine.

Two decades ago, the bank I worked for failed. I had an opportunity afterwards to move a hundred miles away for a job – something I really didn’t want to do – or to stay in my home town and change industries.

I took the local position and remember asking myself at the time “how bad could it be?”

My new boss was the President of a company his recently-deceased dad had founded. It was a tough economy at the time and executive-level jobs were scarce. Because of this fact, I suppose, I ignored early signs in the interview process that should have alerted me to the problems that lay ahead.

For starters, the guy who previously held the job I was going for refused to talk to me about his experience at the firm. That he lasted only six months before bolting should have been a sign.

Once I was offered the job, my boss required we have a contract. Specifically spelled out was that I had to work a minimum of 10 hours every day and that he could fire me at will. That he was seemingly already thinking of letting me go also should have been a sign.

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