What is Wholehearted Leadership?
“Leadership is not about titles or the corner office. It’s about the willingness to step up, put yourself out there, and lean into courage. The world is desperate for braver leaders. It’s time for all of us to step up” — Brené Brown
Dare to Lead
The quote is from the book Dare to lead written by Brené Brown. I highly recommend it if you haven`t read it.
My Leadership Point of View
The other day I read the article “ My Leadership Point of View” by Ken Blanchard. It is about our values, what has influenced us and shaped us and our expectations towards ourselves and others. It is about knowing your core.
I believe that we will not have the willingness to step up and put ourselves out there, lean into courage unless we do our inner work as leaders. This is what I mean by wholehearted leadership.
I recently attended a meeting where a leader was departing from an organization, a leader that has been mentioned to me as one that inspires.
He inspired me by his way of being and it was clear that he has inspired a whole organization.
What happened in that meeting with hundreds of participants was that one after the other, some with tears in their eyes, shared that this leader had taught them to bring their emotions to work. To bring their whole true self to work. That we are whole human beings. That we are allowed to just be fully who we are.
I was amazed by the openness and connection that was there, and also in admiration to the leader sharing his feelings while saying his final words to the organization before he left.
Wow, that was really wholehearted!
He really dared to step up, put himself out there, lean into his courage and stand for what he believed was right. While doing so he inspires a whole organization to do the same.
A rare experience
I have rarely seen this kind of leaders in any of the organizations I have worked in and I have now more than 20 years of experience in the Tech industry.
What leaders want
When I coach leaders, this is what they want. They want openness, real connections, confidence, courage.
But there is something holding them back.
What it takes
I had a conversation with that leader. He shared with me the amount of inner work he had done. With his emotions. To develop himself. He became an admirer of others the same.
I truly believe that it starts with our willingness to open up. First and foremost to ourselves.
Raising our own awareness of our core values, our strengths, our weaknesses. Finding our mission. From this place, when we are capable of leading ourselves from within, we become leaders to others.
This is, in my opinion, where the wholeheartedness lies.
The Wholehearted Leadership Model
To me, it is about continuous learning. Learning through co-creation. Staying aligned with our own and our team values. Having courage and vulnerability. All this leads to connection, openness, and inspiration.
Wholeheartedness is like peeling the onion
Layer by layer we become more aware of our values.
Layer by layer we learn.
Layer by layer we develop our courage.
And every time we do so, we increase our connection to others. We become more open. We inspire the people around us because we have integrity, we involve others and we dare to be vulnerable.
No time to think?
I have come to learn that most of us have no idea what our mission or core values are. In many of the coaching conversations I have, I observe that:
We are not that good at celebrating our successes and our strengths
We are too busy, and there is not much time to think
If we succeed we just keep going.
I have learned that people feel stressed, unfocused, and lack balance in their life.
Lack of clarity on what inspires and motivates us contributes to stress and lack of focus.
Unclear direction comes when our connection to our inner self is weak.
Sometimes we allow saboteurs to hold us back. We are too hard on ourselves, too self-critical.
Sometimes these saboteurs prevent us from connecting to our core values and seeing our strengths.
This can cause us to feel even more stress and lack of direction.
We strongly feel the disconnect and misalignment within ourselves.
Getting back to Wholehearted Leadership
I believe that opening up to wholeheartedness is one of the most important things we can do if we want to develop our leadership.
From my perspective, it starts from within, from inner connectedness, self-reflection, and self-awareness.
And the question we need to ask ourselves is; Who do I want to BE and who am I becoming?