Effective leadership involves leading from the head, but it also invites leading from the heart.

Much of what we read and hear about leadership today focuses on external things: skill development, time management, quality assessment.There is no doubt that these are all very  important and valuable parts of successful leadership. But there is also a part of leadership that isn’t external in nature, it is internal. It doesn’t come from the head, but is driven by the heart and has the potential to be transformational. Leading with the head is important for good leadership, but so is leading from the heart.

Leading from the heart means not jumping to conclusions about people

Charles Steadman demonstrated leadership in a way that not only impacted the entire Herriman High School student body, but also tens of thousands of people who read about and watched this video of leadership from the heart on display. Steadman invited Savannah, a high school senior who was born with Cerebral Palsy to the Inaugural Ball. Why would he do this?  Because he understood that the inside of a person is as important, if not more important than what is on the outside. By not jumping to conclusions based solely on the external, Charles discovered and the entire student body experienced, the beautiful person of Savannah. By selecting Savannah as homecoming queen, these students announced that they were able to see the value of a person, not for the external but from the beauty that exists within. Leading from the heart means not jumping to conclusions about people.

1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Leading from the heart sees the high value of people

All leaders must decide what they value, because those values drive the organization, the corporation, the team, the school or the family. If a leader only values what people can do or what they can produce and they neglect to appreciate the high value innately of that person, they miss out on so much. If people start to believe that they don’t really matter, what matters is only what they produce, the organization usually ends up with low morale and high turnover. Parents who are consumed with how their kids perform and neglect how important their kids are as people may develop high achievers, but usually it will be at the expense of a close family. Steadman demonstrated that Savannah mattered by asking her to be his partner.

Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

God our Father wants it abundantly clear that he loves and care about us at a deep and even eternal level. Good leaders see the high value of people.

Leading from the heart understands the hidden potential in people

Not everyone is a dynamic and charismatic extrovert, one who is comfortable in a crowd and has the ability to charm the masses. Good leaders take time to see the hidden potential in people. Nobody would have ever chosen the original twelve disciples. The only one with any real credentials was Judas. By all outward accounts the twelve were a motley crew of rough, tough, uneducated, smelly fisherman. Who are these guys? Nobody would have chosen them to help turn the world upside down for Jesus. But Jesus did because he saw the hidden potential in people.

Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

Jesus, the ultimate leader looked from the inside out and saw the hidden potential in these early followers.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Can you give an example of a time when you jumped to conclusions about someone?
  4. Read  1 Samuel 16:7 and share why you think God values the inside of a person?
  5. Share an example from your life when someone really valued you and how that helped you.
  6. Read  Jeremiah 31:3 and share why you think God wants us to know that He has an eternal love for us?
  7. Read Acts 4:13 and share some examples of people who surprised you with their hidden potential.
  8. How can you learn to lead more from the heart?
  9. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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