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Heartfelt Leadership: Leading With Heart

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

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Heartfelt leadership shows in the little things

Corporate America has long been associated with a cutthroat mentality, where profits reign supreme and compassion takes a backseat. However, in recent years, a new breed of leaders has emerged, who prioritize empathy and authenticity in their approach to business.

These leaders are not afraid to show vulnerability, take risks, and stand up for what they believe in, even if it goes against the status quo. They are the embodiment of courageous heartfelt leadership in corporate America.

A great example of courageous heartfelt leadership is the late Tony Hsieh, former CEO of Zappos. Hsieh was a firm believer in the power of company culture and went to great lengths to make sure his employees felt valued and appreciated.

Heartfelt leadership in corporate America
Tony Hsieh: A Heartfelt Leader

He famously offered new hires $2,000 to quit if they didn't feel like they fit in with the company culture, a bold move that highlighted his commitment to finding the right people for the job. Hsieh's leadership style was unorthodox, but it worked.

Zappos became known for its exceptional customer service and strong employee engagement, which ultimately led to its acquisition by Amazon for $1.2 billion.

Heartfelt leadership at PepsiCo Ramona Laguarta
Ramon Laguarta: Heartfelt leadership

Another fine example is PepsiCo Ramon Laguarta. By focusing the companies efforts and goals around water usage and human rights, Ramon made PepsiCo overall a better company with an A+ rating.

Also Joaquin Duato, CEO for J&J comes to mind as he famously said

"I believe society has a responsibility to care for those who care for us—this includes the mental and emotional well-being of frontline healthcare workers.”

Joaquin's uncompromising advocacy for frontline workers, and his passion for increasing representation in the healthcare industry makes him a great example of heartfelt leadership in Corporate America.

Heartfelt leadership
Heartfelt Leader Joaquin Duarta

Leading with heart in corporate America involves making business decisions based on compassion, empathy, and personal connection, rather than solely relying on logic and reason. It means putting people first, serving the community, and creating a positive work culture.

According to Forbes, leaders who lead with their heart understand that business is not just about making a profit but also about making a positive impact on society. Additionally, leaders who are willing to share personal reflections, aspirations, and be authentic with their teams build trust, which is the backbone of high-performance teams.

One of the most powerful way to change minds and win hearts is through establishing a connection with authenticity and empathy; it is more than just saying "good job" or "I'm proud of you," it is the heartfelt "I believe in you".


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