Caring is What Counts: The Surprising Benefits of Leading with Heart

SunsetCo photo

By Angel Santiago | Photography by Taylor Lane


Amy and David Doyle, along with Rees Peacock, own Sunset & Company, a funky, fun, gifty hardware store nestled in the beloved Sunset Ridge Shopping Center at the heart of Alamo Heights. They had a vision to provide quality products and exceptional customer service at a fun place to shop for men and women of all ages. Joyce Benavidez is the General Manager entrusted with maintaining an easy ambiance that both customers and team members can enjoy.


In my conversation with Joyce, we talked about how good ownership and good management can greatly influence the atmosphere in the workplace and ultimately improve customer satisfaction. Joyce emphasized the importance of supporting both ownership and employees, leading by example, and having a thorough understanding of all roles within the organization. “I see my role as a guide for the team, allowing them to excel in their positions, Joyce said. I want people to know I care, I really do care – about this job, the ownership, and the employees. I really care about what I’m doing here.


She couldn’t be more right. If there is a quality to bring into everything that you do, it is care. According to Simon Sinek, author and inspirational speaker on business leadership, leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about caring for those you are in charge of. It is about leading with heart.  Leading with heart and caring for others is not a weakness; it is a fundamental attribute that significantly enhances leadership effectiveness. Even before Joyce was a manager, people could tell she cared; she was the go-to person. Team members were coming to me and asking me questions, and I was answering them, and if I didn’t know, I’d figure it out.


Leading with heart and caring for others is a powerful leadership trait that positively influences both the leader and their team. It fosters trust, engagement, and resilience, and it creates an environment where employees feel valued and motivated. This not only enhances individual and team performance but also contributes to the overall success and sustainability of the business.


Leading with heart means being a compassionate, empathetic, and authentic leader who prioritizes the well-being and growth of your people while also driving results and success. It’s about creating a culture of care, trust, and connection where everyone feels valued, heard, and empowered to thrive.


In the context of leadership, it has many benefits, one of them being improved relationships. Caring leaders build stronger, more meaningful relationships with their team members. This fosters trust and mutual respect, which are essential for effective collaboration and communication. And when it comes to communication, Joyce learned early on, thanks to some lessons from her father, that how you talk to people matters. “Even though I’m not a perfect communicator, Joyce said, “I realized that everybody’s different and you have to talk to everybody differently. Being able to communicate with everybody in different ways brings it all together.


By leading with heart and caring for others, leaders can:


Drive Engagement: When leaders show genuine concern for their employees’ well-being and professional growth, it increases employee engagement and motivation. Team members are more likely to be committed and dedicated to their work.

Enhance Morale: Caring leadership contributes to a positive work environment, boosting overall morale. Employees feel valued and appreciated, which can lead to higher job satisfaction and reduced turnover.

Increase Productivity: Teams led by caring leaders often demonstrate higher levels of productivity. When employees feel supported and understood, they are more likely to put forth their best efforts and achieve their goals.

Encourage Team Cohesion: A caring approach fosters a sense of belonging and teamwork. Employees are more likely to collaborate and support each other, resulting in a more cohesive and effective team.

Foster Resilience: Teams led by caring leaders are often more resilient in the face of challenges. The support and encouragement from a caring leader help employees navigate difficulties and stay focused on their objectives.


Leading with heart isn’t about being soft—it’s about being a bold, visionary leader who recognizes the incredible power of human connection and compassion in driving success. Your journey toward becoming a heartfelt leader demands dedication and continuous effort. It begins with small, impactful steps. Let’s transform your organization together. Reach out to me today to discover how to cultivate a culture of care and compassion that resonates throughout every level of your team.


Let’s embark on this transformative journey to greatness!


Angel Santiago




Bruce X. Forey is a professional communicator with an extensive writing background for magazines, digital, broadcast journalism, and corporate communications. Bruce is comfortable interviewing celebrities, executives, or your next-door neighbor. He specializes in finding the unique angle for every story and presenting it in his distinctive writing style. Leveraging his TV news career, he also serves as a freelance emcee or panel moderator for various events. Bruce is also a skilled real estate agent serving 78209 and beyond. He enjoys helping clients find their next dream home, sell their property or find investment opportunities.

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