About heart and soul

Richard de Jongh

Companies produce and have goals. Their employees’ efforts are usually limited to everyone’s individual contribution to the results. In other words, purely functional. I would like to make a stand for a broader approach. How cool is it if employees, on top of being purely functional, feel inspired to ask themselves the following question: how can we work towards interconnectedness and an optimal team experience?

Unfortunately, I hardly ever find a high level of interconnectedness when visiting companies. Usually, I find a pattern where managers set the parameters and the rest of the organization follows. Especially when a leader finds himself very important, a corporate culture is created in which additional qualities of employees are barely noticed, let alone applied. I don’t think they even feel invited to show their full potential.

Let’s take a school, for instance. An educational institution with a functional goal: to prepare young people for working life. Great. But ideally, a school is more than that, it is a community. School management could take the initiative to, let’s say, organize a party once or twice a year and ask parents and students to contribute. Everyone contributes their qualities, ambitions and cultural interests. No one is forced to participate, but everyone is invited, challenged to share something personal with others.

When a company achieves this, I consider it a high level of bright leadership. From Good to Great. Let’s take the example of a horseman. A good rider leads his horse. The excellent rider invites the horse. The magic that happens then is experienced by everyone, but hard to put a finger on.

Inspirational leadership is open and accessible. It asks itself the following question: how can we use everyone’s qualities in order to create a nice working community in which there is respect for one another and a sense of community? Then it may just happen that someone on the team turns out be an excellent chef and would love to cook for the colleagues one day.

People need to feel invited to fully contribute. If management is only commanding -do this, do that- they’re fully booked. Maybe it is the optimum of leadership if everyone feels invited to contribute with heart and soul to an output-oriented business.

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