Throughout my life there were many influences that have shaped my current world view. There were mentors with whom I had personal interaction. Then there were those whom I simply watched how they conducted their lives and took away bits and bobs that helped me along the way. Let’s not forget the dunderheads who allowed me to passively learn what NOT to do as a leader as well. One of the most consistent influences in my life has been music…of all sorts, except for a few genres.

Courtesy ScrapeTV

One of my favorite bands of all time is Rush. Their first LP release was in 1974 and they have been going strong ever since with a new album coming out this year. They have never conformed to mass expectation and were authentic to what they believed their music should be. While that characteristic in and of itself is perfectly worthy of its own blog post, I want to focus on one song in particular.

I would never choose just one song of Rush to say is my favorite, but there is one song that truly speaks to me of what leadership should be. It isn’t a list of behaviors. It isn’t a management style. It is a life perspective. Something that has more depth than mere theory and academic discourse. The title of the song is Closer To The Heart. Here are some of the lyrics:

And the men who hold high places,
Must be the one’s who start.
To mould a new reality,
Closer to the heart.

Philosophers and ploughmen,
Each must know their part.
To sow a new mentality,
Closer to the heart.

Each time I hear this song I’m reminded of the importance of leading from the heart. We can easily get so caught up in trying to achieve an objective that we create a culture of do-do-do and we forget we are working with other human beings…not cogs in a machine. Leaders should be passionate about what they do and compassionate towards those who help them do it.

As you go about your day to day, reflect on the lyrics from what I consider the best 3 man band ever and let these words challenge you in your approach to leadership. Let them be a call to a higher standard of how we choose to lead. Let our leadership be something that is closer to our hearts.

Enjoy the video. Lead from your heart.