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May 28, 2024
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80. Leading With Heart & Purpose

80. Leading With Heart & Purpose
In this solo episode, Jeff delves into the evolving landscape of leadership as we approach the midpoint of 2024. He highlights five key trends that are reshaping how leaders can effectively guide their teams with empathy and purpose. From finding purpose beyond profits, to leveraging AI, and building trust through transparency, Jeff provides practical insights and real-world examples to help leaders navigate the complexities of today's business environment. Tune in to discover how you can lead with heart and inspire your team in the year ahead. Thank you for listening to Human Capital. We will be pausing new episodes for another 8-weeks, but please stay tuned for a great lineup of inspiring and insightful guests.


Jeff Hunt:

Welcome to the Human Capital Podcast, I'm Jeff Hunt. On this episode, you'll get to hear from just me. No guests, nobody else behind the mic. In fact, I won't be back with a new episode for about eight weeks. In between, while I rebalance, I'm taking a badly needed vacation. Behind the mic, I often talk about burnout and work life balance, and I realized recently that I'm not drinking my own Kool Aid in this department.

Enough said on that front. For this episode, I would like to talk about what it looks like to lead with heart. Think about your office team buzzing with energy, your team looking to you for guidance. And the reality of the world outside your window changing at breakneck speed. How do you keep up with it all?

How do you ensure your leadership is effective, it's empathetic, and inspiring? As we approach the midpoint of 2024, there's five key leadership trends that I wanted to highlight that are emerging that can really help you lead with heart and with purpose. So let me walk through each of these five and we'll do a little bit of a deep dive on each.

The first one is finding purpose beyond profits. Picture a leader who just doesn't seem to care about profits, but genuinely wants to make a difference in the world. That might sound odd at first, but the reality is that purpose driven leadership is the kind of leadership that aligns a company's mission with social responsibility. And then backs it with culture the byproduct of all of these things Ends up being higher profitability anyway, if you're a for profit company And so why wouldn't we want to do that?

Take a look at satya nadella at microsoft for instance in 2014 when he became the ceo He reoriented the company to focus on innovation And making a positive impact not just on financial gains But look at what's happened to the company since that time. The shift has revitalized the company, and it's also resonated deeply with employees and customers alike. So, employees today are looking for more than a paycheck. They want to feel like their work matters. Leaders who can articulate and act on a clear, socially responsible purpose can attract and retain talent much easier than those that don't. For more stories, visit nyseagrant. org. And what ends up happening is employees are more motivated to make a difference.

The second trend is prioritizing mental health. Mental health has such a stigma in society. And for leadership, it isn't just about making strategic decisions. The best leaders also take care of their own mental health and the mental health of their team. The pressures of leadership can be immense and they can lead to stress and burnout if they're not managed properly. And that's why prioritizing mental health has become essential. As I mentioned in the beginning of this podcast, I reached a little bit of a burnout and so I'm taking action and doing a pause on the podcast and taking a badly needed vacation to reset my own work life balance. If you can imagine a leader who sets boundaries for things like digital communication. A leader who encourages their team to disconnect after hours and focus on their own well being. These leaders are attractive to employees because they demonstrate to employees that the leader actually cares about them. And by promoting mental health resources and creating a supportive environment, these leaders show that they care about the team's overall health, not just their productivity.

This approach helps to not only reduce stigma, but also to build a more engaged and resilient workforce. The third trend I want to talk about is embracing experimentation. Experimentation is what leads to innovation. And if you can picture the leader who is not afraid to try new things and take calculated risks, That is the leader that has led to the majority of the innovations that we've seen. Breathtaking innovations over the past 10, 15, 20 years. This type of experimentation mindset is crucial in today's fast paced world. It's even more important when business is moving at breakneck speed. Leaders who encourage small and impactful changes are the ones that foster a culture and culture. This type Of continuous learning and adaptation that can drive significant innovation. I actually have seen several times, mostly in medium to large companies where a department or a team got permission to adapt technology that the rest of the organization didn't in a way of experimenting if they can be more productive or engaged. Or do their work better together. And those leaders that have had success, oftentimes that technology ends up rolling out through the rest of the organization and making an impactful and meaningful difference. So that's the type of experimentation I'm talking about. Another example might be a leader experimenting with changing up a meeting routine to make it more efficient. Or by trying a new approach to problem solving with his or her team. And these micro experiments can lead to big breakthroughs and ultimately help the organization not only have breakthroughs, but stay agile and ahead of the curve.

The fourth trend is about leveraging AI and data, the associated data. And this is a little bit different than experimenting with AI, that's also a key strategy. But in the age of AI, leaders now have unprecedented access. to data that can better inform their decision making. So think about being able to have deep insights into your organization's performance, your customer preferences, your team's performance, employee performance, market trends, all of this at your fingertips. That is the power of data driven leadership. So rather than making decisions on emotion, We're making data oriented decisions, which end up having a more valuable impact to the overall organization. But with AI, if you think about it, with great power comes great responsibility. Leaders have to navigate the ethical and cybersecurity challenges of using AI.

It is incredibly dangerous to ignore these things. Leaders must ensure that their use of technology is both responsible and secure. And it's important to balance the benefits of data driven insights with the potential risks. If you're using AI informed software, make sure you understand how it works. Is it a learning model or a non learning model? Is that model leveraging your personal and corporate information? You know, here at Goalspan, the company that I run, we believe that prioritizing customer privacy Is a top objective and strategy and a kind of a critical deliverable for my company. And so because of that, we've decided not to use. models with our AI algorithms. So there's never any personal data or company data that's passed back through, which keeps our customers more secure. So that's just an example. The fifth and last trend that I'd like to talk about in some ways to me feels like the most important it's building trust through transparency.

This is an age old concept, timeless, and yet more important to be reinvigorated today than ever. In this case, if you can picture the leader who values transparency and trust, They build that through open communication. And today in business, it's so complex that transparency is more important than ever. Leaders must be clear and ethical in their communication, balancing both openness with confidentiality. And when I say transparent, I'm also talking about not only corporate information and confidential information, Where it's appropriate to share, but also vulnerability. So we're admitting when we're making mistakes or we didn't quite get something right as leaders that ultimately builds significant trust. The most transparent leaders foster trust and they create cohesive and engaged workforces because of that. It's really about being honest, as I just mentioned, and. It's about being honest regarding both the challenges and successes alike and ensuring that transparency efforts are genuine and that they contribute positively to the organization. And I'll reiterate that sometimes as a leader, you can't share everything with your team. You have to keep some things confidential. So the best leaders are able to discern and understand what is appropriate and helpful to share with their teams. And what maybe is not, what does this all come down to?

It's really the heart of leadership, all these trends, the purpose driven leader prioritizing mental health, having an experimentation mindset and leveraging AI, and then lastly, building trust through transparency. These aren't just buzzwords. These represent a shift toward a more empathic, innovative. And responsible approach to leadership. Imagine leading with heart and purpose, inspiring your team, navigating the future with confidence and care. As we embrace these trends, we can build a workplace that's not only successful, but is also meaningful and impactful and very fulfilling for everyone involved.

Employees, vendors, customers, stakeholders, shareholders. So, the question for you is, are you ready to lead with heart in the rest of this year, 2024? The future is definitely yours to shape, so seize the opportunity. I'm excited about coming back and the next lineup of guests that we have. We have several bestselling authors lined up and we're going to continue to talk about the most significant things that are shaping the climate of business today, both in the U S and abroad. So stay tuned and I hope you can take a badly needed vacation. Listeners for yourself sometime this summer, recharge your batteries and I look forward to seeing you back at the mic soon.

Human Capital — 80. Leading With Heart & Purpose
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