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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Give Your People A Little Love

Posted by on Jan 15, 2012 in Heart Leadership In Practice, Leadership, Life Lessons | 0 comments

Art GalleryHere’s a quick story my son, Ryan, once told me about how our words and gestures can have a really destructive or constructive effect on the people we lead.

As a young manager of a high-end art gallery following college, Ryan found himself way behind schedule in getting all the pieces of a new exhibit hung.  He was just a few days away from an opening night gala and was feeling the stress of meeting all the deadlines.

And so, he instinctively began barking orders.

The person doing all the actual hanging, Chris, was a genius performer in his role. He had experience in land surveying and used radar to precisely place all of the artwork.  While earning only a nominal wage, he displayed a huge sense of ownership for his work and no one in the company could match his effectiveness in this task.

Under the pressure of the moment, however, and in with a desire to speed up Chris’s work, Ryan started bossing him around. Not surprisingly, Chris shut down.  His spirit became deflated and his physiology confirmed that of someone who’d become really unhappy and resentful.  His progress slowed further.

Another gallery worker, Tim, observed Chris’s distress and found a moment to take his boss aside.  “Ryan, you’re really going about this the wrong way,” he said.  “You’ve gotta show Chris a little love.  If you do, he’ll do a perfect job.”

Ryan knew instantly that he had let the pressure get to him and “took his employee’s advice to heart.”  He went directly to Chris and apologized for being so hard on him. He expressed to Chris that he was especially grateful for having him on his team and that he truly appreciated all of his amazing work.

That’s all it took to cheer up Chris and get him back on track.  According to Ryan, he ended up doing a knock-out job with every piece of art perfectly hung before their important show.

If it’s not entirely obvious, the hero and leadership model in this story was Tim.  Sensitive in the moment to how his co-worker was feeling – and what was interfering with his normally high productivity – Tim saw to it that Chris got the support he needed. And when managers routinely take the pulse of employees and find ways of re-energizing their performance, this is leading from the heart.

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Lead With Care And Never With Fear

Posted by on Dec 18, 2011 in Heart Leadership In Practice, Leadership, Life Lessons, Wisdom From Other Authors | 0 comments

Dr. Mimi Guarneri

Dr. Mimi Guarneri

When I interviewed Dr. Mimi Guarneri for Lead From The Heart, I asked if there were physiological reasons for why people who felt more cared for in the workplace were more productive.  She responded without hesitation. 

“There are only two human emotions, love and fear,” she told me. “Ultimately, you want your default mechanism to be love.  But we have to really work on having love as our default mechanism.  It’s very easy for us to give love to a puppy, our grandbaby and our kids.  But it’s very hard in the workplace.”

“What leaders need to know is that there are many incentives for choosing love over fear,” she said.  “A natural reason is that fear is a negative emotion which frequently releases stress hormones – adrenaline, aldosterone and cortisol – all which make us sick.”

As a real life example of how fear can wield lethal power, Dr. Guarneri related the story of one of her patients, a very wealthy man whose cancer had been in remission.

“When the financial crisis hit, he was, of course, affected and went through a very, very stressful period of time – a period mostly marked by fear.  And his cancer came back.”  Looking for some ideas as to what may have resuscitated his illness, Dr. Guarneri asked her patient “what’s different in your life today?”

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