Running Towards Heart Connections in Leadership

07 Sep
Lee Ellis and Jeff Galloway

Lee Ellis with former U.S. Olympian and Professional Runner, Jeff Galloway.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’ve been following our blogs or social media, you know that Lee’s new book, Engage with Honor, has its worldwide release today, September 7th. If you’ve enjoyed Leading with Honor with its POW and business leadership stories and lessons, this fantastic sequel has more stories along with a very practical “how to” format for building the culture that you want as a leader. Please check it out at your favorite retailer, or read more reviews at And if you buy before September 10th, it sure helps our book launch ratings. [Tweet This] Now, on to this month’s blog.)

By Lee Ellis

This past spring I had the privilege of running with American’s Running Coach, Jeff Galloway at RetroRun in Pigeon Forge, TN—a six-mile (almost 10K) race. We happened to be side-by-side at the starting line for the senior group, and over the first few miles he taught me two lessons. The first one was about running and the second one was really a reminder of a lesson I have to learn again from time to time.

Learning a New Running Strategy

As we headed out, I noticed that he soon stopped and started walking. I kept jogging along and would move ahead and then he would catch up and drop back. This went on for a few cycles and after a short distance he easily pulled up beside me and began a conversation. He explained the basics of his strategy of run-walk-run. I have always been an off-and-on runner but never really dedicated, so I hadn’t heard of this strategy. In fact it went against almost everything I’d ever heard about or practiced in sports—

“Taking a break in the middle of the action was not what ‘real’ jocks did. It just didn’t seem macho.”

Having learned of his fame as a coach shortly before this event, I thought I should listen and learn from him. He told me how he had won a marathon in the Rocky Mountains by using run-walk-run. I noticed we were gaining on a group ahead of us that ran continuously, so I listened even more closely to Jeff’s advice. He explained that most people, and especially older folks, would run faster and have far fewer injuries using this run-walk-run strategy.

The First Lesson Learned

At the three-mile point I realized that our run intervals were getting faster and faster and that I was holding Jeff back, so I encouraged him to leave me in his dust. The end of the story was that I was able to beat my goal for minutes per mile for the run. I ran better than I expected by walking one third of the time during the run. What a shocker!! So I learned something about running that has helped me resume this healthy practice with more energy and passion than ever before. This insight was there all the time, but I would’ve rejected it immediately had I not been taught by an experienced coach.

The Second Lesson Learned  

And that’s the second lesson.

“More often than I care to admit, I realize that I have to let go of an old mindset that really does not work so well in order to adopt a new one that works better.” [Tweet This]

As a coach, I have been able to help many leaders adapt to a new mindset that greatly improved their influence on others.

This month, as we celebrate the launch of my new book, Engage with Honor: Building a Culture of Courageous Accountability, we’re looking at Chapter 7, entitled “Connect with the Heart.” This powerful idea is so obvious, yet not natural or practiced by most results-oriented leaders. Let’s take a look at this second C in the Courageous Accountability Model™.

Courageous Accountability Model

What Does Connecting With the Heart Look Like?

Typical heart-connecting actions include listening, supporting, encouraging, believing in, and almost any action to connect to the deepest needs of another person in a positive, respectful, and honoring way.

Why does it work?

Every human being has deep desires to be valued, heard, seen, respected, trusted, feel important, feel as though they are contributing to something important, and believe they’re doing something that has purpose and meaning. We want to know that we count for something. These heart level connections mentioned above communicate this type of value and lift the spirits. The idea is succinctly captured in this quote –

“The goal of many leaders is to get people to think more highly of the leader. The goal of a great leader is to help people to think more highly of themselves.” – J. Carla Northcutt [Tweet This]

What is the Impact?

  • Heart connections energize people with positive emotions that give hope and confidence.
  • They empower people to perform better and work harder.
  • In short, they enable us to produce more and better results.

So there you have it, and you can take it to the bank. If you will take this month’s Foot Stomper and try it for 30 days, you’ll see immediate improvement in your leadership and others’ success –

“Effective leaders recognize that their people are human beings with a deep desire to be known, understood, valued, and appreciated. With this mindset, they intentionally connect with them to ensure inclusion, express appreciation, and show each individual his or her importance to the mission.”

Take it from your coach: The old mindset of only encouraging results, without taking time to encourage the heart is a losing proposition in the long run. As I learned from Coach Jeff, my mindset of running non-stop was not the most effective. I hope you will trust me and begin connecting at a heart level for a healthier run in your leadership assignments.


Engage with Honor is Now Available!

Engage with Honor We are so excited about the new release today of Lee’s latest book, Engage with Honor. We’ve created a special ‘Engage with Honor Launch Package’ when you place your order direct from our Online Store.

Review the Launch Package below, and Order Here


  • Free Leading with Honor 1-Page Mini Report
  • Discussion Guide for Groups
  • 6 Coaching Videos by Lee Ellis
  • 10 Video Clips Explaining each chapter
  • A Case Study on Balancing Results and Relationships
  • A copy of The Honor Code to Share with Your Team and Colleagues
  • The Courage Challenge Card – A Tool for Maximum Employee Engagement
  • Free Monthly Leading with Honor Coaching sent to your inbox
  • Special Discounts on Leading with Honor Live Training for your team or organization


  • Free Leadership Behavior DNA Assessment (A $125 Value) – View a Sample
  • All of the other features listed above.


1 Comment

Posted by on September 7, 2016 in Uncategorized


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One response to “Running Towards Heart Connections in Leadership

  1. ramakrishnan6002

    October 18, 2016 at 3:19 am

    Reblogged this on Gr8fullsoul.


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