Leading from the Heart

With a human touch, the Impossible became Possible.

When you have a problem or a task, what tools and resources do you activate to make a decision? No matter how big or small. I bet most people will answer: my head, the brain, or data or facts. And what if I told you that it means you are stuck in your head and significantly limit your creativity and possibilities? Would you consider another way?

My recent travel got messy because of the flight cancellation, and it also resulted in a non-refundable cancellation policy for the hotel. Usually, I would get angry and complain to the airline to recover the losses, but this time something different spoke to me. I decided to call the hotel and see if they would be kind to waive the non-refundable policy due to the unforeseen circumstances of life. As I was expecting, at first, they reiterated to me all the non-refundable policies and procedures, and the answer was: “Sorry we can’t do anything, you will pay”. That’s how many people take life, as a set of imperfect rules that we live by and abide by regardless of what life throws at us. No wonder we feel so unhappy and unfair about the outcomes most of the time. I was exhausted and worn out from the long mess with flight cancellation, and I wasn’t in a position to accept the cold, inhuman systematic reply this time. I needed hotel manager to hear me.

I tried a different approach, more human, that comes from the heart. I explained to the manager that I agreed with the rules and policies in place. All I was asking was to consider the situation from the human perspective, where rules and policies don’t take into account each and every scenario, like flight cancellation due to mechanical reasons. I spoke to her from my heart and asked her to consider the situation back from her heart. I invited her to speak and listen like two human beings and forget about the rules for a second. The manager listened and was quiet after I finished. When she spoke again, she just gave me a full refund, without going back to rules and policies. And this is four hours before the check in time for a reservation that I made through a non-refundable third party site (like Priceline, Hotwire, etc.). With a human touch, the Impossible became Possible.

Rules and policies are important for society organization and regulation and make sense for line employees who lack the necessary experience to make decisions. However, there are so many situations that rules don’t cover; life is so unpredictable! Customer service exists because we just can’t put on paper each and every scenario that can happen. We forget that this is just a guidance and not the bible of all things. We hide behind the rules because we are stuck in our heads and it’s scary to break this habit. We get overwhelmed just by catching up with “compliance” to each rule, and we forget how to be human with each other.

Mindful leadership comes from the heart and has the human touch. Without it, we are rigid, insensitive and sometimes plains stupid. I invite you to speak and listen from your heart with clients, colleagues, friends and family. Connect to the humanity inside you and connect with the humanity inside others so that many decisions will be easier and different.

Being connected with your heart is easier said than done because of all the distractions and noise that we have around us. Practices that are proven to get us back on a track are spending time in nature, mindfulness, and daily meditation. Get unstuck by stepping outside of the rules and regulations box. Tap into your humanity by simply listening if the decision feels right. Not that it’s right on paper, but how does it feel. Choose to lead from the heart and incredible things will happen.

Oksana Esberard

Certified Meditation Instructor. Mindfulness At Work Consultant. Requested Speaker.

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