Heather Younger is on a mission to ensure leaders use their power to make the workplace a safe space. An experienced keynote speaker, trainer, and consultant, her recent book, The Art of Caring Leadership: How Leading With Heart Uplifts Teams & Organizations, emphasizes the need for leaders to model kindness, compassion and empathy, and outlines nine ways to manifest the radical power of caring support in the workplace. She is Marcel Schwantes’ guest this week on Love In Action.
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- Heather talks about the experience at a previous job that inspired her to pursue leadership development and employee engagement as a career. “I realized I needed to be … that voice for those who didn’t ordinarily have a voice at the table, who often felt like they were hopeless and helpless,” she shares. [3:31]
- If the top leadership isn’t open and humble enough to recognize and accept they may be responsible for their company’s issues, half the battle is already lost, Marcel says. “They have to champion the change management. They have to champion a new way of doing things,” he adds. [10:12]
- Heather shares the story of WD-40’s CEO’s pivot to leading with care, and why it’s a business imperative. After changing the way he viewed and interacted with employees, the bottom line of their company increased exponentially. By putting care into the workforce, he created a vision that rallied shareholders, stakeholders and customers and significantly improved performance. WD-40’s employee engagement scores reach 96% year after year. [14:37]
- Soft skills are the new hard skills. Leaders that think empathy, compassion, and kindness are ‘too squishy’ are the ones that fail to step up with courage, Marcel remarks. He and Heather discuss the importance of cultivating self-leadership skills as a prerequisite to being a leader. [23:00]
- Listening is an important part of leading with care, according to Heather. “In order for [listening] to be effective, it has to be bidirectional,” she claims.”It’s not just you sitting and hearing; it’s you asking the right questions, going back and forth [with] dialogue. Most people think listening is shutting up, but not always. In fact, the most effective listening [involves] asking the right questions, open and closed.” [29:34]
- “How do you get people to go above and beyond in an environment [that bred] the Great Resignation?” Heather explores ways to motivate your employees. While money and bonuses are good incentives, they can only go so far in encouraging people to actively engage and perform at their best ability in an otherwise toxic environment. “Do they feel like they’re on a mission that is bigger than themselves? Do they feel like they’re involved in meaningful work? If the answer to both is no, money [as an incentive] isn’t going to last.” [34:29]
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