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Lead with Heart: Transform Your Business Through Personal Connection by Tom Gartland, BenBella Books, US $26.95, Pp 166, May 2018, ISBN 978-1946885005

Most business leaders are told to keep at least a professional “distance” with the people who report to them. Close friendship and personal relationship are not encouraged. Tom Gartland also learned this unwritten business principle in the early years of his practical life. As the years passed, he realized that this pervasive practice destroys trust, collaboration and the very fabric of the organizations, slowly but surely. When Tom Gartland became president of Avis Budget Group, North America, he wanted to make the corporate culture more open and connected. He believed that “business is personal – very personal.” He broke the principle of keeping a professional distance from his junior colleagues who created unprecedented results for the company. In Lead with Heart, Tom Gartland calls his unconventional approach ‘Leading with your heart,’ and shares his approach and experience with his readers and tells them how they can also inspire their colleagues and get great results.

Tom Gartland says that leading with your heart is the key to unlocking your true leadership potential. The approach helped him create a thriving, engaged culture; advance a purpose and strategy that inspires top performance, and live an integrated whole life where my personal values are in alignment with work realities and where life at work and life at home are not in two separate boxes. He writes, “What transformed me as a leader was learning how to connect my head with my heart. Once I made that connection, everything changed. I was able to connect deeply with my heart and the hearts of others. I even became comfortable with a word that you seldom hear in a business setting love.” He firmly believes that the time has come for us to get comfortable with how our heart can transform our lives – personally and professionally. Learning how to lead with our heart turns out to be a brand new concept. It was a personal journey for him.

Tom Gartland shows you how to open up to your true leadership potential. It is not going to be easy. But learning to lead with your heart will make you much more connected, more open, and more honest with yourself — and, as a result, more authentic to those around you. He shares his personal stories and insights to demonstrate what leading with heart looks like. If you follow the unwritten rule of business that says leaders need to keep a safe distance between themselves and those they are leading, you become disconnected from those you are leading. This inevitably lowers morale, erodes trust, diminishes engagement, squelches collaboration, and shrinks the bottom line. He says that you can lead with your heart only by becoming open and connected.

Trust is the measure of any relationship’s strength. Many leaders prefer to surround themselves with just a few trusted advisers, treating trust like a rare commodity. Tom Gartland says that you should create an engaged, trusting culture, where everyone feels like they were a vital part of our success. You need to be the starting place for trust to flourish on a deeper level. As leaders, our goal should be to see in others something that they might not even be aware of their real potential. Identifying potential and developing talent is the most important contribution you can make to your organization. When we as new leaders seek recognition and accomplishments ourselves, it can be hard for us to see that leading is not about us. It is about others.

Lead with Heart, is a fascinating book that teaches an unconventional approach to realize your full business/leadership potential. It is not just an academic or theoretical book; it is the practical way to achieve positive results in business and other fields. Tom Gartland convincingly shows that this approach worked in his case and it will work in your case as well. He also helps you accomplish this difficult task. Every actual and potential business leader will hugely benefit from this.

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