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Inspiring Others to Lead with Head, Heart and Hands

Updated: Feb 26

As a leadership and collaboration coach and consultant, I believe in the power of nurturing a holistic approach to leadership, where the integration of intellect, emotion, and action is key to inspiring and guiding others.

As leaders, our role extends beyond our own achievements to include the cultivation of leadership qualities in others. Below, we outline nine key practices that resonate with the intellect, emotions, and actions of emerging leaders.

Head: Intellectual Leadership

Intellectual leadership hinges on informed, decisive action. Cultivating leaders who excel intellectually involves providing clarity, building confidence, and enhancing competence.

  1. Clarity through Context:  Offer insights into the broader vision and strategy, connecting individual contributions to the organization's goals. This understanding motivates and empowers team members to make informed decisions by appreciating the 'why' behind their tasks.

  2. Confidence through Empowerment: Encourage team members to trust in their decision-making abilities. This involves offering constructive feedback, celebrating successes, and creating a supportive environment where risks are taken, questions are asked, and learning from mistakes is valued.

  3. Competence through Learning: Ensure your team has the necessary knowledge and skills. This means providing resources, facilitating continuous learning, and creating opportunities for growth. It's about striking the right balance between challenge and support.

Lead people so they can transform their ideas into strategy - paraphrasing Meenakshi Iyer

Heart: Emotional Leadership

Emotional leadership is anchored in empathy, contribution, and commitment. To nurture leaders who lead with their heart, it's important to show care, offer coaching, and foster connections.

  1. Care through Connection: Connect team members' work to their personal values and the impact they create. By recognizing their efforts and making them feel valued, you inspire them to extend the same care to others.

  2. Coaching for Potential: Guide and support your team in realizing their full potential. By highlighting their strengths, providing development opportunities, and encouraging them to stretch beyond their comfort zones, you transform them from mere participants to proactive contributors.

  3. Connection through Purpose: Cultivate a sense of belonging and purpose. Aligning individuals with the organization's mission and fostering a culture of inclusivity enhances motivation and nurtures a sense of collective commitment.

Lead people so they can transform their energy into fuel - paraphrasing Meenakshi Iyer

Hands: Practical Leadership

Practical leadership is about action, viewing change as an opportunity, and collaborative progress. Leaders who lead with their hands are adept at navigating change, sparking curiosity, and promoting teamwork.

  1. Navigating Change: Guide your team through transitions with optimism and resilience. Breaking down challenges into manageable steps and maintaining open communication can transform apprehension into actionable insight.

  2. Fostering Curiosity: Encourage a culture of questioning and exploration. Valuing curiosity promotes a growth mindset and paves the way for innovation and experimentation.

  3. Promoting Collaboration: Highlight the benefits of diverse perspectives in solving complex challenges. By valuing different viewpoints and ensuring all voices are heard, you unlock the collective genius of your team.

Lead people so they can transform their effort into value - paraphrasing Meenakshi Iyer

By practicing these nine principles, leaders can inspire others to lead with intellect, spirit, and actions - cultivating an environment where leadership flourishes as an organizational capability, leading to better outcomes and collective wellbeing.


This article was inspired by Meenakshi Iyer's talk on Leading with Head, Hands and Heart at the 2024 Transforming Leadership Conference.

While informed by major themes of the talk, these are Anjali's personal views on and lived experience of Inspiring others to lead with Head, Hands. and Heart.

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