“Are you suffering from leadership heart disease?”

Leadership is first a heart issue before it’s a skill issue. You can’t lead with integrity and effectiveness if you are morally bankrupt and emotionally immature, regardless of how smart you are or how functionally competent.

As a leader you must believe in your heart of hearts that your fundamental purpose, your reason for being, is to enlarge the lives and efforts of the team you serve. The two things people want and need the most is opportunity and encouragement.

Great leaders are hope dealers. This doesn’t mean sentimental notion or emotional pep talks. It means giving others courage when confronted with overwhelming challenges or deep discouragement. It means causing others to reach inside and give their best even when facing superior odds.

Leading with your heart and not just your head means making encouragement your number one leadership tool. As a leader, encouraging others is your greatest opportunity and the disheartened greatest need.

Encouragement is the art of balancing the tensions of leadership. It’s balancing fortitude with gratitude, passion with compassion, toughness with tenderness, guts with grace and firmness with fairness. For every great leadership truth, and there are many, there is an equal and opposite truth that keeps them both in a healthy tension.

Leaders who lead with their heart must have courage and then somehow in their own way impart that courage to their team. Classes, seminars and workshops are helpful in providing leadership principles, but they do little to help future leaders develop a leaders’ heart to serve and the ability to instill courage in the hearts of their team when they need it the most.

Do you need to attend more leadership seminars and workshops looking for the “magic bullet,” or maybe consider going to see a leadership doctor who specializes in leadership heart disease?

If your team members were brutally honest what would they say you should do?