heart-centred leadership

Heart-Centred Leadership: Do You Need to Be Someone Else to Succeed?

It’s human nature to want to be liked. In our cavemen days if we weren’t part of the tribe then we were less likely to survive. Sometimes, we feel like we have to be someone different to fit in or to succeed. I’ve seen this particularly with men and women in leadership whose natural style is a more heart-centred leadership approach.

To be successful in leadership women often feel like they have to exhibit traits most associated with their male counterparts. A recent article in the Guardian highlights some research into why female-led countries fared better in the 2020 global pandemic. I won’t go into the politics of it. But an interesting explanation is that women tend to have a more participative and democratic style compared to their male counterparts. This is a trait that could be seen as a weakness but in the recent crisis, this article calls for men to lead more like women.

Heart-Centred Leadership Is More Than a Good Idea

Heart-centred leadership is not just a nice idea or something to give you a warm, fuzzy feeling. A 2012 Towers-Watson study of 50 global companies compared companies with low engagement strategies versus those with high engagement. High engagement strategies included people-first leadership, an emphasis on work-life balance, ethical practices and supervisory support. The study found that companies driving high engagement strategies had an operating profit margin that was three times that of their low engagement peers.

Furthermore, heart-centred leadership is more effective in driving employee satisfaction. A 2020 McKinsey article notes,

“Relationships with management are the top factor in employees’ job satisfaction, which in turn is the second most important determinant of employees’ overall well-being.”

Employees feel more valued and engaged to do their very best work. We sometimes consider leaders that focus on personal power and recognition to be more successful. But that is not the case – not if employee satisfaction and profitability are key factors.

Self-Sabotaging Voices Hinder Heart-Centred Leadership

Behaving in a way that is not your natural approach could lead to a lack of authenticity and a break down in trust. This could hurt your work culture if you’re not leading from the heart. It is often self-sabotaging voices that tell us that we cannot be ourselves, that we need to act like someone else. For those that feel that they need to be a certain way to succeed, it could hinder personal success, mental health and emotional wellbeing.

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Yet, with today’s leaders under immense pressure to keep their customers, ensure that employees are safe and maintain a viable business, those self-sabotaging voices are at their loudest!

Acting like Someone Else is Exhausting!

If you spend your workday acting out of your natural preference, you are likely to feel exhausted and drained by the time the day ends. You won’t be enjoying work and you may start to have challenges with your mental health. This can have a detrimental impact on your personal life, with you unable to be the best you can be for your family.

Finding a way to be true to yourself is important, not just to your self-care, but for those you serve, and those you care for.

If you find yourself feeling like you need to be someone else, I’ve laid out three points that will help.

  • Become crystal clear on your personal values. If you are unsure of what your values are try writing this list on individual cards or post its. Sort them into three piles – most important, somewhat important & least important. Then take the ‘most important’ pile and sort them again to give you 5 or 6 that are your top personal values.
  • Take time to notice how you are leading. Are you aligned with your personal values? Are you acting in a way that feels authentic to you? If you answer no to these questions, this will be a good indicator that you might need to change something.
  • Work on being consistent with your personal values, striving to reflect them in your day-to-day leadership style. Don’t worry if you aren’t able to 100% of the time. We are all human. But take the time to notice, and notice the impact it has on those around you.

If you would like to find out more about how you can be more you in leadership, get in touch on 07980 838945. Or email me at gillian@fearlessedge.com. I’d love to talk with you.

To find out more about our Heart-Centred Leaders Community, click here.

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