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good for the heart

5 Key traits of great leaders that are good for the heart

To be a great leader, you need to be good for the heart. Being a great leader requires many skills and traits that fall into various categories including; intellectual knowledge, education, preparation, experience, vision and determination. Their people skills shine when they project authenticity, care to be good listeners and foster transparency in the workplace.

good for the heart

Another important leadership trait is to be good for the heart. The well-being of all within a company is key to the success of the leader, the organization and the employees themselves. Being good for the heart means that the vision, plans, actions and requests engender positive feelings in people, which in turn results in healthy lives.

Leaders who achieve their objectives by causing fear, stress, nervousness, anxiety or depression in others can lead to negative results in the long run. Though the short, mid and long-term goals may be achieved, the effects on company employees can degrade overall morale, motivation and health.

A good test for measuring the heart of a leader is to consider how the recipient of an invitation to a meeting by the leader is received. Does the recipient feel enthusiastic or stressed? An invitation from a leader that generates a positive response is the type of leader who is good for the heart.

Here are 5 characteristics of leaders that are good for the heart.

  1. They care about people

Great leaders tend to be very strategic and have big ideas. Such intellectual power is very advantageous for the company, especially when the leader also cares about the people who are going to be executing the ideas and who can also be impacted by the very ideas the leader has initiated.

Caring about people includes knowing who is in the organization, paying attention to where they are, what they do, what their names are and knowing something personal about as many people as possible in the organization.

Great leaders also converse with people in their organization and not only when and if something has gone wrong. Great leaders exhibit genuine concern for the people in their organizations and recognize the work they are doing by greeting, smiling, shaking hands and asking questions about how they and their families are doing — which is very good for the heart.

More importantly, via management meetings, they can also be kept abreast of their employees’ advancements, assuring that everyone has the tools and support to succeed. A smile and a friendly comment, whenever possible, also goes a long way.

2. They are inclusive

When employees feel they belong, have value and are part of something big, it also adds to their sense of well-being. As regards meetings, not everyone can be included in every company meeting and most employees appreciate being included when they are most needed. For those not participating in meetings, they can still feel they are part of what is happening by being informed of news relevant to their specific role in the company.

Being aware of everyone, acknowledging them and keeping them in the loop regarding the overall health of the company is a way to be inclusive and that makes employees feel invited, which is good for their sense of belonging, their happiness and their heart.good for the heart

3. They are reasonable in their expectations

Some leaders move up through the organization because they accomplish company goals by utilizing an aggressive style — achieving unprecedented growth in very short periods of time. On the other hand, when resources are limited and employees are asked to work excessive hours, even weekends in order to achieve impressive results, the long term consequences can lead to low morale, low employee satisfaction, low levels of loyalty and low retention.

These conditions are not sustainable when looking to recruit top talent in a good economy. Most companies will experience healthy retention rates when the working environment is reasonable and does not interfere with employees’ health.

This can be even more true with newer generations such as Gen Xers and Millennials, for whom work-life balance plays a big role when choosing where to work.

4. They are trustworthy

Leaders who are not honest and transparent and whose actions lead to mistrust and doubt are not good for the heart. Second guessing a leader’s particular response to a situation can create nervousness and the potential to affect employees negatively.

New team members may ask themselves, “Will he cancel the meeting tomorrow after all the work we’ve done? Will she increase our already unrealistic sales goal again?” Employees feel better when they have a general idea how their leadership will respond in most instances.

This is not to say leaders should be overly predictable, flat and lack innovation. Developing and acting by an overall set of values give employees a base for how leadership will likely behave in most circumstances. An employee who knows the company’s leadership style might respond to his or her fellow team members with reassuring words like, “I’m not worried. I know he won’t surprise us with an unrealistic demand. In the ten years I’ve worked here, he has always given us a heads up on upcoming critical deadlines”.

Honesty and  transparency reduce the feelings of anxiety and fear caused by the unpredictability of a leader. Leaders who are honest, authentic and somewhat predictable in most situations are good for the heart.

empathy in the workplace

5. They are understanding

Although leaders strive for success, the reality is that mistakes happen. Great leaders assess situations holistically and evaluate the scope of mistakes, the impact, risk and actions that may have led to it as well as the potential solutions going forward.

Great leaders don’t focus on who to blame or eliminate, rather, they look for learning or development opportunities. Some of the most successful leaders have experienced failure multiple times. Strong leaders mean well and assume positive intent.

They work under the assumption that the organization has capable talent with good intentions and when something doesn’t go well, it’s not the end of the world. Good leaders are able to identify what didn’t go well, why, and what mechanisms or rules can be put in place to prevent future mishaps.

Most importantly, leaders connect with the teams involved and whenever possible offer the necessary understanding, support and future guidance — assuming the mistake was unintended and didn’t produce potential liabilities for the company. Offering teams who have made an honest mistake a second chance is good for the heart.

Caring for the people who work in your organizations and who help you achieve your goals is the right thing to do. Caring for their well-being and emotional health is key to growing an organization capable of achieving amazing results.

Great leaders play a big role in making sure their people are motivated, happy, healthy and that they show up to work every day, not because they have to, but because they want to.

A good leader who consistently reaches out to employees and expresses care, inclusivity, reasonableness, trustworthiness and understanding will keep employees engaged, and that is good for everyone’s heart.

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3 Common mistakes companies make in understanding assimilation in the workplace

As companies continue to introduce policies to increase organizational effectiveness, understanding how assimilation in the workplace can help or hinder an employee’s success is crucial.

assimilation in the workplace

Understanding assimilation in the workplace can help or hinder employees’ success

Assimilation in the workplace generally refers to the process by which employees are familiarized with a company’s protocols, methods, operations, job-specific duties, as well as company-specific terminology if applicable, to name a few. Assimilation programs begin with employee onboarding and orientation and continue to evolve over time.

The value of being unique while practicing assimilation in the workplace

Given the need to increase innovation and solve problems in a global market with diverse customers, more and more companies are hiring employees from different sectors, ages, ethnicities, geographies, cultures, and backgrounds – perhaps part of the reason you were more attractive to the organization you are now a part of. The company may have been looking to add the very characteristics and attributes you embody – to their overall organization. As a person with unique strengths, you present a great opportunity to increase understanding and effectiveness when serving customers from the sectors you have experience in.

assimilation in the workplace

The value of being unique

Adapting consciously to assimilation protocols

Cultivating a company culture helps the organization move at a certain and desired speed, with a system and a language that allow employees to communicate and operate mutually. Some adjustments new hires may need to adopt can include anything from a uniform style of dress (mainly in the service sector, and common in the corporate sector) to the way in which they engage with customers or clients. Protocols for how ideas are presented, along with particular leadership styles may also be in place. In this type of assimilation, employees who have been properly introduced to the company’s culture consciously adapt to the environment they want to be successful in.

Assimilation, however, needs to be balanced and reasonable. The optimal level of assimilation in the workplace produces the maximum level of authenticity and personal comfort – after all you are happiest when you are yourself. Organizations and employees benefit from having a culture everyone can embrace and which presents each person the tools to navigate within the company to get things done. 

  1. “Daddy, why are you acting like that?”

When employees feel they are living some kind of a double life, one at work and one at home, then the assimilation may have gone too far. If an African American team member brings his young child to work and the child witnesses his father acting differently than he does at home, the child, in a confused state may ask, “Daddy, why are you acting like that?”

When a relative can no longer recognize the person he or she knows well, because that person feels the pressure to be someone different in the workplace, then it means the employee has passed the optimal level of assimilation. This continuous going back and forth from one type of behavior to another takes a lot of energy and could even diminish the employee’s true identity.

The admiration minority leaders enjoy within their organizations and from the communities they serve is part and parcel because they identify with the people they serve. There is value in relating to a leader who is genuine and representative of a particular group.

If a Latino is promoted to the top of an organization but his or her assimilation level is so high that he or she does not really exhibit any of the characteristics that are common to Latinos, then that leader may be effective for a mainstream audience but potentially ineffective with other Latino employees, customers, or suppliers, especially if they no longer perceive him or her as authentic.

  1. Companies whose employees look different but act and think the same

    assimilation in the workplace

    They look different but act the same.

Organizations that feel proud of all the skin colors visible in their offices or included in a company recruiting brochure, yet conversely when addressing solutions to a problem, that same diverse pool of talent thinks similarly and the ideas are generally safe, common, or easily agreed to by everyone, then the employees may have gone too far in their assimilation. The outcome may not be as valuable, nor the solutions as innovative as expected. Nor may the final decisions be equitable for all communities.

  1. Diverse employees and leaders that don’t bring their whole selves to work

A good source of happiness comes from being authentic and honoring your true self.

Some ethnic executive leaders may lose admiration and respect from members of their own community when they show excessive assimilation that disconnects them from their roots.

If a woman believes that to be successful in an organization, she needs to assimilate by acting more like a man, then the unique advantages she brings to the company can’t be leveraged. If she finds herself being coached to replicate the particular style of her male peers, mentors, bosses, leaders, customers, and vendors, and the message is clearly to behave less like a woman and more like a man, the daily toll on her will be enormous. Eventually she may leave to join another company who values her fully. 

Achieve an optimal level of assimilation in the workplace

When talent is hired from outside the traditional core population, employers need to be reasonable regarding the amount and speed of assimilation expected of their new hire, or they run the risk of losing the very authenticity they seek. So keep in mind to:

  • Make conscious adjustments and changes that allow you to be more effective.
  • Do not compromise your personal values in the process.
  • Stay connected to your true self.

The purpose of cultivating a company culture via assimilation programs is to offer you the best environment in which to succeed, and not to squelch your personal individuality. Cultivate strong relationships with your peers, build trust with your supervisors, keep your career goals firmly in focus, and take advantage of all the growth opportunities offered you. If you feel added pressure to behave radically different, reach out to a certified career coach for advice and counsel. In today’s business environment, companies would rather not lose their best and brightest.