Curated Content | Thought Leadership | Technology News

Think and Feel: The Future of Effective Leadership

Master the art of whole-brained leadership.
Kelsey Brandt
Contributing Writer

Effective leadership requires utilizing both logic and emotion, your “head” and your “heart.” People naturally identify more with one style or the other. However, the most successful leaders employ a blend of rational thinking and compassion. Grounding decisions in data, expertise, and strategic thinking while also demonstrating humility, courage, and concern for their team.

In a recent study, researchers asked participants to identify if they were more closely associated with their head or their heart.

  • 52% associated with their heart – characterizing themselves as warmer, more emotional, agreeable, likely to use emotions to solve dilemmas, more reactive to stressors
  • 48% associated with their head – enjoying intellectual challenges more, had greater general knowledge, more logical, better at intellectual tasks

In a follow-up part of the study, the same participants were asked general knowledge questions while placing their hand on their head or heart.

  • Those with a hand on their head performed better on intellectual problems.
  • Those with a hand on their heart emphasized emotions more in decision-making.

Showing a connection between identifying with head vs. heart and differences in decision-making and problem-solving. Understanding this difference theoretically is one thing, but putting it into practice as a leader requires identifying the right attributes to lead with both head and heart.

There are four key attributes for effectively leading with both head and heart: perspective, awareness of limitations, challenging assumptions, and openness to others’ ideas. Mastering these allows leaders to know when to utilize logic versus emotion.

  • Perspective allows leaders to incorporate empathy while remaining capable and self-aware.
  • Awareness of limitations encourages curiosity, humility, and self-reflection
  • Challenging assumptions builds courage and empathy
  • Openness to others’ ideas drives perspective, empathy, and curiosity.

The pace of change today demands that leaders be able to effortlessly combine logical analysis with compassion. While some naturally gravitate to the head or the heart, growth requires developing dexterity in both.

Companies need leaders who think deeply yet empathize strongly and who balance strategy with storytelling. The integrated leadership style of the future draws wisdom from the head and warmth from the heart. Leading with your whole self unlocks true potential.

Go Deeper —> A Scientific Approach To Leading With Both Head And Heart – Chief Executive

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