Heartbreak Hotel

joe —  Fri 9-Mar-12

Post It NoteWhat word would you use if your boss just told you that he resigned? Was that a wishful smirk on your face? Are you off creating mental images of green fields, warm sun and unicorns all around?

I’ve been fortunate to only have one boss from hell. Most of the others were either very strong leaders, or at least managers that I could work with to develop a strong working relationship.

This week, unfortunately, I lost one of the best. My heart sunk when I heard the words “Joe, I’m resigning.” It was an unusual feeling, something that I had felt only once before in this type of situation.

I couldn’t put my finger on what to call the emotion – it wasn’t sadness, it wasn’t anger, it wasn’t even self-pity. Then later, when a friend and I discussed Van leaving, she said she was heartbroken.

That’s it! That’s the emotion. I was heartbroken.


Then I realized that heartbreak can only come from leaders that make a heart connection. They lead first with their hearts. They are the ones that capture your attention because they share and intertwine your aspirations with theirs. They see a vision and show you how you fit. They know why you are really there. They know that if they are ever going to capture your mind, they need to start with your heart. They are the ones you trust with your career.

Very few leaders start working relationships with their heart. Nearly all the great ones do.

Why do I need their hearts?
They are paid to use their minds.

Without their hearts, you are only getting half a person. Their heart is the oil that allows the mental pistons to run smoothly. Without the oil, you will eventually throw a rod.

Motor Oil SoulPlease don’t mistake leading from the heart with being wishy-washy. You have to do the tough jobs. You have to set deadlines. You have to set boundaries. You have to rule consistently, fairly, and decisively. You must make the tough calls and the ones that you dread. But if you have their hearts first, the second happens much less effortlessly for all involved. Order matters!

I said earlier that I was very fortunate to have only had one boss from hell. I may need to rethink my optimism. Why is it I have only had two that left me feeling this way? Is it really that unusual to lead from the heart and manage from the head?

Then I pondered for a moment, “Come the day when I decide to leave, will anyone be heartbroken?”