Heart before Head

Heart before Head

On Boss’ Day in 1994, a full page advertisement appeared in USA Today. It was contracted and paid for by the employees of Southwest Airlines and was addressed to Herb Kelleher, the company’s CEO.

Thanks, Herb:
* For remembering every one of our names;
* For supporting the Ronald McDonald House;
* For helping load baggage on Thanksgiving;
* For giving everyone as kiss (and we mean everyone);
* For listening;
* For running the only profitable major airline;
* For singing at our holiday party;
* For singing only once a year;
* For letting us wear shorts and sneakers at work;
* For golfing at The LUV Classic with only one club;
* For outtalking Sam Donaldson;
* For riding your Harley Davison into Southwest Headquarters; and
* For being a friend, not just a boss.
Happy Boss’ Day from each one of your 16,000 employees.

Never underestimate the importance of building relationships with people, especially the people that you lead. You cannot consistently influence people to take positive action unless you first move them with emotion. The heart always comes before the head. As the saying goes, people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. Caring is about relating to people and showing them that you genuinely want to help. Leaders with “position” or “title” believe that connecting is the responsibility of followers. That is, “I am the boss, you should come to me.” In contrast, effective leaders are initiators of the connecting process. They always take the first step in building relationships and connecting with others. You cannot lead from the neck up. Leadership requires heart. To lead yourself, use your head. To lead others, use your heart.

All contents copyright © 2012, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.


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