Leading the Whole Person

Organizations and their employees have been challenged to rethink how they work and adapt to the continuously evolving business landscape. The global pandemic acted as a catalyst for innovation. The race is on to find better ways to solve problems and secure competitive advantage as the world begins to open back up. However, no organization can become more innovative, explore creative problem-solving, and encourage greater team collaboration without genuinely knowing their people.

Our people have always looked to us for guidance and a way around their challenges. Traditionally, many leaders have focused only on the performance of their employees inside the workplace with little regard or interest in who they are when they leave the office. But the events over the last twelve months have changed everything.

Leaders who lead with their hearts understand this and invest their time to lead the whole person to help them achieve more.

When working with organizations, I help teams create forums like roundtables, town halls, and coffee hours to connect at a deeper level with their people. Ultimately, I help them create a safe space to air their fears, questions, and concerns without judgment.

By standing in their shoes and empathizing with what they are facing, you can begin to build trust within teams. Only then can you help remove any barriers preventing them from being their authentic selves in the workplace. On my podcast, Ray Aguirre, chief of police at California State University, Fullerton, shared how increasing trust in teams will improve performance.

We shouldn’t be too surprised that taking the time to see the world through your employees’ eyes can impact organizational performance. Your people on the front line are the ones who hear both the customer compliments and complaints. They know which systems and processes work and which slow success. Their perspectives are invaluable and empowering them will transform your organization.

In a conversation with Andy Books, sales manager of Salelytics, he told me how every employee wants to excel in the organization. As leaders, we have a responsibility to give them the tools they need to get there. But to do that, we need to reach them personally to understand what drives and motivates them. This can be achieved by taking the time to with your team members and learn what obstacles are in their way.

These sentiments were echoed by Mareo McCracken, chief customer officer at Movemedical, who shared with me that to meet the needs, wants, and desires of those we lead, we must have conversations that mean something in every one of them. But to do that successfully, we need to determine their communication style and preferences.

In my new book, The Art of Caring Leadership, I share many other stories that dispel any doubts that leaders with heart exist and the value they bring to their organization. They meet their people where they are by accepting them, empathizing with them on their journey, and paying attention to the details of their lives. In doing so, their organization thrives, and every person feels like they play a critical role in that success.

Organizations of all sizes need to go deeper to find out who their people really are. As leaders, we must seize every opportunity to build trust and show our support. If you or your organization need guidance on developing listening strategies or learning more about the steps required to build trust, boost morale, and engage your workforce, please reach out to me.


Heather Younger
Heather Younger
Heather Younger gets it. As a best-selling author, international TEDx speaker, podcast host, facilitator, and Forbes Coaches Council coach, she has earned her reputation as “The Employee Whisperer”. Her experiences as a CEO, entrepreneur, manager, attorney, writer, coach, listener, speaker, collaborator and mother all lend themselves to a laser-focused clarity into what makes employees of organizations and companies – large and small - tick. Heather has facilitated more than 150 workshops, reaching +100 employers and their employees. Her motivation and philosophy have reached more than 20,000 attendees at her speaking engagements on large and small stages. Companies have charted their future course based on her leading more than 100 focus groups. In addition, she has helped companies see double-digit employee engagement score increases through the implementation of her laws and philosophies. She has driven results in a multitude of industries, including banking, oil & gas, construction, energy, and federal and local government. Heather brings a tenacious and inspirational outlook to issues plaguing the workforces of today. Her book “The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty” hit the Forbes Must-Read list and is a go-to source for HR professionals seeking insight into their organization's dynamics. Heather’s writing can also be found on her blog at EmployeFanatix, as well as articles in Forbes, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, American Express Open Forum, and more. Coupled with her Leadership with Heart podcast, weekly videos, and employer newsletters, Heather stays connected to organizations long after she leaves the stage or conference roomWhen all the emails are returned and the mic is turned off, and Heather acts as co-manager of her busy household in Aurora, Colorado with her husband, where they oversee their four children.

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