Leading with HEART Builds Team Connection and Collaboration

John Maxwell said it well when he expressed, “To  lead yourself, use your head;  to lead others, use your heart.” Great words to which we all likely can agree, but what does that really mean? How do we, as leaders, connect with others in ways that positively impact our students, staff, and communities? 

In a world where leaders are pulled in a hundred different directions, intentionality behind our leadership matters. Understanding the power of small, daily actions can build lasting impact when there is a clear focus. Leading with HEART is a way to connect with your team, build greater collaboration, and have fun!

H- Humor

Teams that are able to have fun together tend to be happier, healthier, and be more productive. Ways to incorporate humor/fun in your daily leadership actions could be as simple as incorporating a joke a day into your daily announcements, sharing a silly story, dressing up for fun days, or going down the playground slide with your students. The science is simple and clear. Laughter really is the best medicine. Give yourself permission to have fun, be silly, and create memories with your team.  Not only will it bring a smile to the face of others, it will fill your soul too!

E- Empathy

Brené Brown defines empathy as connecting with people so we know we’re not alone when we’re in struggle. We can certainly see how the past few years have brought numerous challenges in education. If you are blessed enough to lead, empathy is a non-negotiable. Showing empathy builds connection, honors your people, and provides opportunities for them to feel seen, heard, and appreciated.  

A- Authenticity

We all can tell when someone isn’t being genuine and it rarely turns out well. Authenticity is key to developing trusting relationships with your team. When you model authenticity, you build a culture of learning, growth mindset, and psychological safety. Leaders must develop cultures in which authenticity is the norm and expectation. 

R- Relationships

Relationships, relationships, relationships. Leaders lead people, not robots. Relationships matter. Take the time to invest in your people. Ask them how they are doing and actually care. Remember birthdays, special occasions, and other opportunities to express gratitude.  

T- Trust 

This could truly be the make it or break it part of leadership. Do your people trust you? Do they know that you will follow through, do what you say, express honest feedback? When trust is missing, teams go into protection mode. At best, teams without trust aren’t able to function at full capacity. At worst, a toxic culture develops in which negativity, passive aggressiveness, and lack of cooperation thrive.

Leading with HEART is a way to inspire and empower those around you.  It gives you the capacity to build more leaders. After all, isn’t that what true leadership is all about? When you break it down, leading with heart is not only something that is incredibly important, it is something we must prioritize to support our people. Let’s continue to grow, learn, reflect, and lead with HEART!

Jenn Schultz, Principal at Emmons Lake Elementary School- Caledonia Community Schools.

~Jenn Schultz, Principal
Emmons Lake Elementary
Caledonia Community Schools

#Leadership #Relationships #Collaboration #Connection #Team #LeadingWithHEART #WeLeadLearning #KentISDpd #BlogTakeover

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