Building Inclusive Workplaces.
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In my experience, these leaders come from all backgrounds, sectors and levels in organisations. I can think of many people who made me feel this way: The CEO of an oil company, a manager in banking/insurance, a nurse working in the NHS (National Health Service in England) and a police officer working our city street. What is it that binds them all together, that enables them to have a profound connection with everyone they meet and seemingly inspire all those around them?
There are two fundamental aspects I have noticed:
The first thing I’ve learned is that they Lead from the Heart of what matters. They are clear on their Higher Purpose and think, act and communicate starting from this place. It is this clarity of purpose that permeates through everything they say and do, which is confirmation of what they believe. This inspires trust, loyalty and followership in all aspects that form the bedrock of leadership.
Being authentic is essential to who they are as a human being and as a person. To Lead from your Heart requires openness and vulnerability, acknowledging your shortcomings and being comfortable in your own skin. They are people who have the courage to acknowledge what it is to be human and to lead from this place. To admit when they don’t know the answers, to ask others for help and most importantly, to be open and share with people how they are feeling.
These leaders have developed a strong relationship to:
Knowing themselves: The first part of being a leader is to be the leader of your own life. To lead yourself, you need to know your Higher Purpose and when you know this, you become the leader of your life. This creates the foundation for being authentic in how you communicate and act.
Understanding being human: Being authentic requires us to acknowledge what it is to be human. The real work is to recognise that we are all social animals that want to serve others, to be loved and feel a sense of belonging. Leading with your Heart often means going with your gut feeling and what is right for you, this is your limbic brain talking. Learning to listen to this very centre of our humanness is the start of understanding what it is to be human.
Relationship is the foundation: In business, the most enduringly successful organisations are led by those who actively focus time and effort on building relationships within their teams and to know everyone’s true commitment to what they are working on. Importantly, relationship is as much about being with people as it is about working together. This may seem obvious, yet how often do we perceive that our managers feel remote? Relationships are built over coffee as much as they are engaged in day-to-day activity.
If your heart allows you to feel and be aware of the needs of others, then you can communicate with them on their level, in ways that they understand and can relate to. One of the most generative things a leader can do is to constantly reinforce everyone’s connection to their Higher Purpose by talking about it. Setting the environment for extraordinary things to occur. Consider Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela or Malala Yousafzai.
Spending time building relationships is never wasted, it’s the foundation for everything we do.
These inspiring people know their Higher Purpose. They articulate it well and dedicate their lives bringing it into existence. What is equally as important is their love and care for every person they meet. The more we can build a caring relationship into our work, the more we are able to progress. Caring is about understanding the profound affect our words and actions have on the lives of others. It is a cornerstone of our humanness. Creating work that matters, engaging everyone in this process and caring for those around you is key to Leading from your Heart.
Viktor Frankl wrote one of the sources from which true happiness ensues:
We must end the artificial separation between these essential aspects of our being and show up as a whole person in all that we do. Leaders who Lead from the Heart know this.