093: The Pure-Hearted Leader: The Surprising Relevance of an Ancient Concept



Creative businessBack in 2000, Jesse was helping an executive at one of the world’s largest companies develop a communication plan. As they were working through the key messages, the executive got tripped up on one of the words Jesse was recommending. He thought the word and even the concept might be dated, old-fashioned. The word was integrity, and Jesse assured him that integrity was very much a relevant concept that senior leaders needed to teach, model, and talk about. The following year, a scandal at another large company (Enron) and subsequent downfall of accounting giant Arthur Andersen brought the word integrity into the spotlight of the business world.

In this episode, Jesse discusses another term that seems old-fashioned – even ancient – but is surprisingly relevant: pure-heartedness. What it actually means and how it affects your leadership impact may surprise you. Join us for this discussion about the origin of the term, what it means for leaders, and who are examples of pure-hearted leaders. And then decide for yourself: do you want to strive to be a pure-hearted leader?


kardia (cardiac)

  • The heart, inner self, character, intention
  • “Desire-producer that makes us tick” (Gleason Archer)

katharos (catharsis)

  • Clean, pure, unstained
  • Free from corrupt desire
  • Purified by fire

A pure heart is defined by:

  • Purpose
  • Outcomes
  • Intent

5 implications for leaders:

  • Heart for the purpose (mission)
  • Heart for the people (team and customers)
  • Heart for the process (journey)
  • Open heart (authenticity and transparency)
  • Brave heart (serving the mission and team rather than self-preservation)

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