Leading a significant change effort requires significant effort if you want to see significant results. When it comes to this large of a change, John Maxwell says, “People don’t need to turn over a new leaf, they need a new life.” In his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John teaches us that the way to a life changing experience is through the heart.
“Leaders touch the heart before they ask for a hand.” – John Maxwell
At eighteen months old, Helen Keller had a brief illness that changed her life forever. As a result of her illness she lost her sight and hearing. At the age of eighty-four she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her lifetime of public service. Like John Maxwell, Keller teaches us that the way to a life changing experience is through the heart.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller
If you want to lead through significant change, you must lead through the heart:
Start with the heart of the leader
Leaders of significant change must ensure their heart is fully dedicated to the effort and speak from their heart. There is no other way if you want to succeed. Your team will only follow you if they feel you are passionate, energized, and committed to reaching the goal. John Maxwell says it like this, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
If you have traveled to a foreign country you know what happens when you speak your native language slow and loud – it doesn’t help; you are still not understood. I have found travel much easier if I know how to communicate in the local language. Leading through significant change is no different. If you want to be understood you must speak the language of the heart.
“What is uttered from the heart alone, will win the hearts of others to your own.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Finish with the heart of the team
Now that the leader of significant change is speaking from their heart, they must speak to the heart of their team. Eddie Robinson, the former Grambling State football coach who for 56 years amassed a win loss record of 408/165 put it this way, “Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting them to believe in you.”
Another great college coach, Mike Krzyzewski from Duke basketball, not only successfully coached basketball, he wrote a book on lessons in leadership titled Leading With The Heart. Coach K is quoted as saying, “A common mistake among those who work in sport is spending a disproportionate amount of time on the ‘x’s and o’s’ as compared to time spent learning about people.”
You see, it’s been said, “People won’t remember what you did. People won’t remember what you said. But people will always remember the way you made them feel.” This feeling comes from the heart of the leader, through the heart of the team.