Leaders should be heart-centred

Everyone seeks service from a warm heart. If we want front-line staff to show this to customers, they need to be shown this by their leaders (Want productivity? Win workers' hearts; Feb 16).

I facilitate leadership and staff development and sometimes notice how, at the workplace, showing that you have a heart can make you be seen as weak.

But, in order to have innovation, people need to have safe spaces to ideate, experiment, fail and recover.

According to Dr Barbara Fredrickson, principal investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of North Carolina, positive emotions enable people to see more possibilities, come up with more ideas and be more creative and resilient.

Innovation also requires empathy, so that organisations can create what truly makes a difference in people's lives.

Research shows that leadership approaches like positive leadership and servant leadership are linked to unusually high performance.

The state of our heart at work also affects our well-being, health, our relationships with our family and our bandwidth to care for our community.

At a time when we are building up our nation's psychological defence and resilience, having a heart at the workplace is critical.

Everyone will benefit if we have this "heart-set".

Isabel Vadivu Govind (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2018, with the headline 'Leaders should be heart-centred'. Print Edition | Subscribe