The social isolation of COVID-19 has been a time of introspection for some, which can be confronting. It has given all leaders the opportunity to take stock of where they have been, where they are now, and where they are going – Is this you?
For me, this has been an interesting time. Not just from a business perspective, but also in terms of personal growth.
I realise that now, more than ever, I am really feeling like my true self. And that’s a great place to be. It isn’t so much what I am doing, but how I am being that has been the most significant shift.
That’s not to say that I wasn’t me before, but rather I was behaving in ways that didn’t really feel like me. I was modelling the behaviours of other leaders around me to fit in, as I didn’t feel safe to be who I truly was. I remember this really strong feeling of disconnection.
This is not to say I am not owning the behaviours but rather the environments didn’t enable me to put the best version of myself out there. How can a business benefit from the full value its leaders can bring, if we don’t feel safe to fully contribute our ideas, skills, experience and views?
I have worked around many leaders at different levels, from team leaders, executive directors and chairs. In governing, what many people have not realised is no matter what role you hold in an organisation, how you are being while you are doing, is important.
What happens if leaders govern in an ego-centred rather than heart-centred way?
We have all been around leaders who are so defined by what they do they have lost sight of who they truly are. As a result, their teams struggle to support them and never know whose side they are on. It is like they use their position to feed their ego and continually suppress their deeper feelings and intuition. And trust goes out the window.
Could you govern and lead more effectively?
I found the answer to this question was to change into a more heart-centred governing leader.
This involved learning how to interpret feelings – understanding where they were coming from: was it my head and ego self-talking or was it my heart?
I also had to be really clear about whether I was reacting to what’s happening around me – owning only my own behaviour and not the behaviour of others in reaction to mine. This heart discernment process is something I am continually learning. It really forces me to confront some of my own truths.
I realised that this does not mean that I need to be a pushover – I can and do hold strong lines while being true to my heart.
Those feelings of distrust, disappointment, suspicion, insecurity and rage in response to the behaviours of others and ourselves can impact how effective we are as leaders – how we own our decisions, treat others and, in turn, allow others to treat us.
As it turns out, when it comes to being a leader governing in organisations, regardless of level, all our internal self-talk has a significant impact on how we behave and interact with others, including how effectively we make decisions.
Decisions of leaders move organisations towards their goals. Your organisation’s governing framework informs leaders’ judgments. When we add a heart-centred view to decision making we take in we take in our own true heart perspective and the different perspectives of others, leading to better decisions.
Susan Steinbrecher and Joel Bennett, Ph.D, first introduced Heart-Centered Leadership: An Invitation to Lead From the Inside Out in 2003. As pioneers, they first placed Heart-Centered Leadership on the radar. To see more on them, visit https://heartcenteredleadership.com.
Ethical decision making is on the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ radar too: http://aicd.companydirectors.com.au/resources/covid-19/using-ethical-frameworks-to-make-good-covid-19-decisions
And there has been an explosion of training courses in governing organisations. They are useful in providing perspectives on how to deliver good governance but they don’t tell you much about being a great heart-centred governing leader.
This is where the Governance Collective comes in. We recognise that people don’t really learn how to be so we are supporting people to be a governing leader by identifying their true self and aligning what they do to their purpose, leading to better ethical decision making, which is so integral to business success.
If you are interested in learning more, join us to raise your awareness on what a Heart Centred Governing Leader is, how they approach their work and how you can adapt and adopt your leadership style and behaviours to deliver better governance in your role in more heart centred way.