To lead with a caring heart means to be congruent with who you are and who you want to be—out in the world and behind closed doors. All leaders are in a constant battle to create more alignment in how they show up for themselves and for those who they lead.
Howard Behar, former president of Starbucks and member of the “Leadership with Heart” podcast community, shared his example of being congruent. He said, “Every day I want to nurture and inspire the human spirit—beginning with myself first and then for others. I say ‘self’ first because what I’ve learned after living this long is that if I’m not okay with Howard, then I can’t help anyone else.”
Howard’s reflection brings up how hard it is to be congruent in all parts of life. His willingness to admit his mistakes first and then self-correct is a key behavior of a caring leader. If we are going to talk about growing and developing as leaders within our organization, we need to model those behaviors first. Being congruent requires a greater self-awareness and deep desire to show up true to self. Leaders are congruent when they examine their results and ask themselves whether they showed up as intended and aligned to their personal values.