Don’t be fooled by the title. This isn’t about eating foods that lower your cholesterol.
You may call it emotional intelligence. You may call it being intuitive. You may even call it being sensitive. The fact of the matter is that leaders aren’t as great as they think unless they possess some form of these “heart smart” qualities.
I’m not talking about throwing a company party or buying everyone lunch. Those are great gestures, but leaders need to also impact an employee somehow on a personal level.
I recently read a great example of this in the news.
According to the article, a North Carolina family with an epileptic son was eating at a restaurant. The 8 year old, Riley, had been rowdy and disruptive during the whole meal—the norm when he gets frustrated because he can’t speak. Riley was getting loud and hitting the table, which the family knew was aggravating to the other patrons.
But the family’s spirits immediately lifted when a waitress approached them saying that a stranger had paid for their dinner and left a note that read: “God only gives special children to special people.”
No matter what your religious affiliation is, you can see how touching the deed was. It doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone’s day, and in some cases, their life.
For leaders, it doesn’t require blurring the lines of the work and home environment. A simple handwritten “thank you” card will work. Or maybe you could let an employee leave early if you know that day was especially bad for them (if his or her work is done for the day and you can afford it). Basically, it’s showing that the individual is more than just another worker bee.
Head smarts can get you the job, but heart smarts is how to build and maintain your team after you land the job. So, are you heart smart?