In our business culture, and society in general, the image or metaphor of the heart is often associated with yielding, kindness -- or perhaps weakness. Yet, the heart is also strong and powerful, as well as the driving force of life.
Your ability to lead well is hindered when there is an unbalanced connection with the heart. Embracing a heart-centered approach to business lies in your ability to stop, go inward, and reflect on the course of action that you know is the right one, rather than succumbing to external pressures.
Business owners who genuinely lead with their heart -- not just their head -- are also more equipped to connect with the emotional needs of employees. They understand that people have the need to be valued, respected, listened to and involved. By acknowledging and honoring the human element, heart-centered leaders possess the wisdom and capacity to positively transform any organization and run extremely successful and profitable businesses.
Remember that honoring the heart does not signify weakness. True power means listening to and from the heart and having the commitment and humility to clear all that stands in the way of that heart connection. As the sagacious Grand Master of the Jedi Order, Yoda once said, "Do or do not. There is no try." Stay true to a commitment to lead from the heart and you are sure to reap the rewards.
- "People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care."-- John C. Maxwell
"True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but about lifting others up."-- Sheri L Dew "The seat of knowledge is in the head, of wisdom, in the heart."-- William Hazlitt "Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it."-- Braveheart "When your heart speaks, take good notes."-- Judith Campbell "The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers."-- Deepak Chopra "Wherever you go, go with all your heart."-- Confucius "The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being."-- Lee Iacocca "We see the world, not as it is, but as we are--or, as we are conditioned to see it." -- Steven R. Covey "The mind forgets but the heart always remembers."-- Anonymous "Great leadership usually starts with a willing heart, a positive attitude, and a desire to make a difference."-- Mac Anderson "We treat our people like royalty. If you honor and serve the people who work for you, they will honor and serve you."-- Mary Kay Ash "Try to help others. Consult their weaknesses, relieve their maladies; strive to raise them up, and by so doing you will most effectually raise yourself up also."-- Joseph Barber Lightfoot "When people go to work, they shouldn't have to leave their hearts at home."-- Betty Bender "Smile, it is the key that fits the lock of everybody's heart."-- Anthony J. D'Angelo "You do not lead by hitting people over the head--that's assault, not leadership." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower "As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others." -- Bill Gates "To help others develop, start with yourself."-- Marshal Goldsmith "When we really connect to that place of wisdom and strength and understanding, everything becomes easier."-- Arianna Huffington "Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens."-- Carl Jung "Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up."-- Jesse Jackson "Don't believe everything you think."-- Byron Katie "If your goals aren't synced with the substance of your heart, then achieving them won't matter much."-- Danielle LaPorte "The heart is a muscle, and you strengthen muscles by using them. The more I lead with my heart, the stronger it gets."-- Mark Miller "A person's world is only as big as their heart."-- Tanya A. Moore "If my heart could do my thinking, and my head begin to feel, I would look upon the world anew, and know what's truly real."-- Van Morrison "Civility doesn't weaken a message. It helps others hear it."-- Kate Nasser "Success isn't about how much money you make. It's about the difference you make in people's lives."-- Michelle Obama "The heart has eyes which the brain knows nothing of."-- Charles H. Perkhurst "If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader."-- Dolly Parton "Only do what your heart tells you."-- Princess Diana "One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment."-- Robert E. Quinn "To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart."-- Eleanor Roosevelt "Since in order to speak, one must first listen, learn to speak by listening."-- Rumi "Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence, making sure that impact lasts in your absence."-- Sheryl Sandberg "Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success."-- Swami Sivananda "When pure sincerity forms within, it is outwardly realized in other people's hearts." -- Lao Tzu "Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart."-- Unknown "Please think about your legacy, because you're writing it every day."-- Gary Vaynerchuck "Leadership is doing what is right when no one is watching."-- George Van Valkenburg "To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart."-- Sr. Thomas Watson "As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."-- Marianne Williamson "If you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything."-- Malcolm X "Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart."-- Zig Ziglar "Vulnerability is not weakness. And that myth is profoundly dangerous."-- Brené Brown "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched--they must be felt with the heart."-- Helen Keller "Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye."-- H. Jackson Brown, Jr. "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma--which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."-- Steve Jobs "A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination."-- Nelson Mandela"If you wish others to believe in you, you must first convince them that you believe in them."-- Harvey Mackay
The original version of this article first appeared on Inc.com