“All I wanted was a pair of hands…

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…why is it that I get whole people to deal with?” Henry Ford is reported to have said. This was back when the assembly line was being born and workers were employed for their productivity. This productivity worker gave way to the knowledge worker who was valued for taking what they knew and applying it in the workplace.

Today, a new kind of worker is emerging—one that leads with the heart.

Contrary to what Ford (and others) may think, we are whole people: we have hands, so we toil; we have minds so we think; and we also have hearts so we feel.

Heads and hearts combine to inform our impressions, decisions and actions. So it’s no surprise that we can sniff out rules that do not make sense. As a believer in Christ and a person of faith, I think God gives us abilities to see things as he does with wisdom, understanding, good judgment and common sense. (Proverbs 3:21)

In a post today on the Harvard Business Review, Doc Seidman points out the importance of knowing that the future of any enterprise will be determined by the ability of leadership to understand the significant shift in attitudes of the up-coming workforce.

Seidman says, “In the [new] human economy, the most valuable workers will be hired hearts [as opposed to heads–my words, not his]. The know-how and analytic skills that made them indispensable in the [old] knowledge economy no longer give them an advantage over increasingly intelligent machines. But they will still bring to their work essential traits that can’t be and won’t be programmed into software, like creativity, passion, character, and collaborative spirit—their humanity, in other words. The ability to leverage these strengths will be the source of one organization’s superiority over another.”

A recent Time online post, Nine Things Smart Leaders Do, parallels closely the issues Seidman point out: flexibility, diversity, focus on relationship, informality are valued—leaders who don’t make rules, or at least keep them to a minimum, show heart!

Seidman says, “This notion of a human operating system appeals to me because it hints at how fundamental the commitment to humanity has to be in a company.”

In an online post on Forbes, Meghan Brio says, “The great (not so) secret driver of Millennial (and every generation btw) engagement is emotion. In order to hook this free-spirited talent you need to win their hearts and souls, as well as their heads. Research has shown that emotional commitment is four times as strong as rational commitment (i.e. just a paycheck) in motivating stellar performance. People may stay at jobs because they have bills to pay, but they excel at jobs because their hearts are in it. This is a core truth that all great leaders know and act on. Work tirelessly to make jobs meaningful, tailoring them to the individual’s gifts and strengths; build synergistic, energetic teams; and articulate (and live) a mission that people can believe in.”

Seidman concludes, “The path ahead for leaders is to create human operating systems that allow humanity to be expressed…in a human economy, it is no longer enough to follow rules.”

Lead with your heart…you might as well because, as Brio points out, the new workforce is “savvy and can spot duplicity from a mile away.”

About Bob Creson

President/CEO of Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, Orlando, Florida. It is an injustice not to have the right to read the Scriptures.
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