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Head or Heart? You Don’t Have To Choose!

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

We’re often prompted with musings on whether to follow our heads or our hearts. Conflicting ideas seem to present pros and cons for both- the head is analytical yet may lack true connection, the heart is rooted in kindness but may overlook logic. In truth, we cannot completely choose or remove either, for both offer wisdom and are essential to our humanity. So it is not a question of head or heart, but how do we balance head AND heart.

When leading and educating, it is important we show up as our authentic and best possible selves. Showing up with kind, genuine intentions fosters a caring community that supports growth and sets an example for those we are guiding and teaching. Students, coworkers, and teammates learn from our words, what our mind chooses to say and do, but they also learn exponentially and experientially from how our heart encourages us to be – our character. So again, it is not head or heart, but both. We lead with the latter, refine with the former.

The following are 5 helpful suggestions to maintain the balance:

  1. “Who am I?” It is important to regularly check in with ourselves and decide who we want to be and what our core values are. Are they honesty, kindness, empathy? We can check in as often as necessary in order to remind ourselves of our character.

  2. “Who am I to others?” After deciding who we want to be, and it may change each day, we can also ask ourselves who we want to be for others. This reflection helps us to consider the type of space we want to hold and the kind of feelings we want to evoke in those we teach and lead.

  3. Take Pause. After considering tips 1 and 2, we can then use this in varying circumstances. In every situation, we can remember to pause, reflect on who we want to be, and act accordingly. Taking a moment to assess our emotions and intentions before becoming involved will allow us to respond, rather than react, with more clarity.

  4. Refine Communication. One of the main ways we show ourselves is by how we speak, write, and overall communicate. It is important that we communicate honestly, reliably, and with integrity. It is also beneficial to practice active listening, inclusive and non-accusatory language, and overall, build trust by using all the aforementioned processes in a consistent manner.

  5. Separate from emotions. Although emotions are related to the heart, it is important that we not be consumed by personal emotions and biases. Stepping back from our emotions, which can be fueled by past experiences and irrelevant associations, allows us to see what is best for others in their growth process. In order to focus on the best for our team and keep ourselves in check, we can implement fact-based, data driven methods and encourage a culture of accountability.

Getting in touch with our heart can be difficult, but it is rewarding and worthwhile to create an environment that is grounded in safety, support, and balance. McGrath with TRUE SPEAK will increase confidence in your leadership by helping you to create methods that are in alignment with your heart and best intentions. McGrath with TRUE SPEAK will help you to understand who you are as a leader and how to communicate your genuine talents, abilities, and ethics in ways that mirror your core beliefs, while helping you to implement objective accountability. It will aid you in forming practices that embrace your heart and others’.


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