Benefits of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

benefits of emotional intelligence in the workplace

Benefits of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Think about the business world and your workplace for a moment. Is it hierarchical? Flat? Structured? Family oriented? Entrepreneurial? Self-driven? Or something else? Now let’s bring in the concept of emotional intelligence by thinking about two things: What is your workplace like during a crisis? And what is it like in terms of opportunities?

In many companies, difficult situations and crises bring out the worst in leaders and associates. Without emotional intelligence, the politics come out to play, and it can be a dog-eat-dog or blame-game situation. Constructive criticism is taken the wrong way, emotional responses can get heated, overall performance suffers and conflict management is ineffectual.

The modern workplace

I see so many companies constantly operating in crisis mode where stress management, conflict management and effective communication between team members are almost nonexistent. Where workplace politics tend to be the rule rather than the exception. And these companies always tend to produce lower level/ insecure leaders as well as limited business performance and less than average customer service.

Then there are companies that thrive and shine. Associates can’t wait to get there in the morning and be a part of whatever is happening. Job satisfaction and overall performance are high. Workplace conflict is at a minimum. And we wonder what makes these companies so special.

Importance of emotional intelligence

One enormous answer to that question is emotional intelligence where leadership positions are filled with people who have cultivated emotional intelligence skills—soft skills like sincere listening and projecting a genuine interest in co-workers;, people who can relate on an emotional level as well as an intellectual level; who can pick up on nonverbal cues, body language, and emotions of others; who can relate in a positive way and provide constructive feedback while supporting strong relationships between co-workers.

This kind of high emotional intelligence takes care of the unnecessary politics and puts the sparkle in the company. People actually care about the work they are doing. They care about each other. Even more astounding—they genuinely care about the company they work for.

A powerful investment

Companies increasingly realize that professional success means attracting intelligent people and retaining top talent. Savvy leaders also realize the importance of investing in training employees in soft skills and talent development. They know this is a crucial first step to improving the company’s bottom line, because they understand that technical skills only go so far. They know an important secret: That appreciation, inspiration, and validation are as important to people as a paycheck. They know that when people know they matter at an emotional level, you unlock their discretionary energy—their passion. And passionate employees make good companies great.

People need to know they matter and the younger generations absolutely demand it. Companies with good emotional intelligence tend to have good professional development plans in place. They know that goals and achievements are important to intelligent people and necessary to keep their emotional state high while igniting great performance. A certain amount of autonomy is also required, and powerful business leaders encourage people to play their own game within the company’s game. In other words, they address “what’s in it” for their associates.  

Emotional intelligence in the workplace has a number of benefits. People learn how to grow their interpersonal skills and:

  • They learn how to give and receive constructive feedback
  • Conversations and positive emotions are encouraged. Gossip is discouraged,
  • Instead of being risk averse, staff members and team members are taught to embrace risk
  • People respect rank, but don’t pull rank
  • Everybody feels seen heard and valued
  • Discussions and contributions are welcomed
  • A healthy sense of accomplishment is prevalent

Now, let’s look at some of the benefits I just listed in more detail:

Learn how to give and receive constructive feedback

Many companies pride themselves on being “open.” They feel that people giving feedback, sometimes spontaneously in the moment rather than waiting for the “right time,” is appropriate. Unfortunately, woefully few in leadership positions and in human resources know how to do this properly. All too often these become impromptu “dump sessions” with hurt feelings exposed in a raw manner. People are blamed and accused rather than conversed with, or they are minimized rather than encouraged.

There are two types of feedback, constructive and destructive. Obviously. coming across with an attitude and words that convey the sense of “Hey, stupid! You screwed up. You should have done it THIS way,” is not constructive and only causes shutdown, defensiveness and resentment. (You’d be shocked by how often I see this. All unknowingly, CEOs, team leaders and people in management positions end up playing out unhealthy family patterns in the workplace. Without training in the importance of emotional intelligence, they fail to see what would seem to be obvious, but is not: That negative feedback and harsh criticism are how they were taught. This is the kind of feedback they received. And they’re simply passing on the negative pattern.

On the other hand, “feed forward” is a method of relaying constructive feedback in a way that equips the receiver with insights and a potential new skill. From the outset, the intention is to elevate the recipient, validating their potential and encouraging change. Feed forward establishes belonging, while harsh feedback can isolate and exclude. Feed forward takes the recipient into account in a healthy with no shaming or blaming.

Gossip is discouraged, mindful conversations are encouraged

In companies with low emotional intelligence, stressful situations are epidemic and so is gossip. In companies where good relationships haven’t been built and stress management is unheard of, gossip gives people a sense of weight, importance, and credibility. Of course, it also creates discord and a deep sense of mistrust between team members, staff members and upper management and on and on.

For example, I recently worked with a client whose line manager actively encouraged all members of the team to come to him with any complaints or concerns, rather than addressing them directly with the person(s) involved. This created a nest of nastiness, as people quickly learned to literally tattle-tale on each other in order to gain weight in the eyes of their leader. 

By contrast, I have worked with leaders in professional settings who actively encourage crucial conversations within their teams. They invite team members to explore new ideas and resolve issues without it becoming personal. I show them how to use invitational language and curiosity to invite participation and create a safe, solution-focused climate.

Issues are discussed, not people. If there are problems with business performance or issues between associates, intentions and assumptions are identified as well as wants and desires. Resolution tends to come pretty quickly. Such teams learn to know each other well and have each other’s backs. Work becomes a safe space.

Everybody feels seen, heard, and valued

One of the best ways to develop positive outlook and ensure high engagement scores and buy-in from team members and associates is to let them know they are seen, heard, and valued. A great way to achieve this is to close loops. Closing loops also grows emotional intelligence.

So, what do I mean by that? Systems like to know who belongs where and people like to know that they belong. When an associate brings an idea to the table, a very quick way to validate them is to let them know that they have been heard and then eventually circle back and tell them the outcome that results from their input. That way they know they have been heard and this encourages them to give the best of themselves.

Good leaders in the modern workplace don’t just takes notes and move on, leaving the associate wondering if their suggestion landed, was heard, or will be implemented or ignored. They make sure that the input is acknowledged—which makes the team member feel seen as valuable. But then they also follow through and relate how that input might change a given situation. And then they follow that up with a report on the actual outcome.

Failure to close loops can look dismissive or send a message that management is not interested. In companies where ideas and input do not get follow-up, associates become disengaged, negative emotions are generated and a great chance to create validation and buy-in is often missed this way. Additionally, this can create a sense of frustration with management. You will often hear statements in the workplace like, “Management doesn’t care,” or “I don’t know why we attend these meetings because nothing ever happens,” or “Nobody cares anyway. You tell them what is going on and they just ignore it.” What stressful situations that kind of lack of social awareness creates! What a terrible work environment to be caught in.

Quick affirmations

A quick and easy way to let people know they are seen and heard is to respond to the idea by quickly examining the possibilities and potential applications. Even if it is just a couple of well thought out sentences, the associate knows that they have been heard and that their ideas matter.   You can also specify a certain amount of time—establish a timeframe—within which you will definitely circle back to the idea and examine it more closely. And then follow up on that and let your associate know what the final outcome/result is.

Pro Tip: If you are sending a response to a suggestion via email, (not the best approach but unavoidable sometimes) smiley emojis often signal positive intent and recognition. People will read your email and whatever emotional state they’re in—maybe they just received some bad news— if you add that smiley face, there is less of a chance that your message will be misinterpreted and more of a chance that it will land well

People respect rank but don’t pull rank

I work with leaders all the time who get things done in a way that commands respect and admiration. They come across with a combination of charisma and inspiration that makes people admire them. They effectively get things done—but they do it in such an emotionally intelligent way that they bring people together and get them invested in their work. They don’t pull rank or make others feel small. Instead, they empower. They have a great sense of the emotions of others, and have the vital skills necessary to be able to read body language and pick up on nonverbal cues.

They have a deep awareness of others, and are present with everyone they encounter. It doesn’t matter whether they’re dealing with another CEO or a junior sales representative. They listen to even the least senior voice and find value.  Yet, at the same time, they have absolute respect for structure and order and get that feeling across. Systemically, you would say that they know their place, respect it, and respect the place of others. They also have a good sense of the balance of giving and receiving and they create belonging. Not surprisingly, you often hear people say about them, “I want to be like that when I’m head of a company one day!”

Discussions and contributions are welcomed

Experiencing a sense of belonging is one of the most sought-after emotional experiences of any human being. When we have the sense that we are where we belong and safe where we belong, we quickly develop the desire to contribute to our environment and to shine in the eyes of those around us.

It’s fun to be recognized and achieve. It’s a bit like a big game. Good leaders understand this and open up the floor for contributions and robust discussions, encouraging a closer look at new ideas. They are not afraid to not know things, and they are willing to let others shine by stepping up and educating them on some aspect of business performance. Talk about building good relationships and a positive work environment!

Some of the best leaders I know have the emotional intelligence to know that learning never stops and that great ideas can come from any and all sources. If they’re really savvy in their interpersonal skills, they can teach others around them to be open-minded and receptive like this as well. And don’t you know that is the kind of work environment where career success and the bottom line can positively explode!

Pro tip: Over and over again I have watched business associates light up when a leader responds positively to an idea and acknowledgment is given. In fact. I teach clients to take notes of what is said during a meeting and by whom. When it comes time to close out the meeting, they take a moment to directly address each person who has contributed regarding their idea. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference.

Unfortunately, on the flip side I have also seen the opposite where slide decks are prepared, presentations are made, constructive feedback and knowledge are shared … and then the not-so-emotionally intelligent leader takes all the information and runs with it as though it were theirs. They do not acknowledge their contributors. Sometimes they don’t even allow them to present their own work.

Such behavior steps all over the emotions of others, shuts down discussion and destroys intrinsic motivation and inspiration. Often you will see those leaders say they don’t have the time to acknowledge and include others. “Time is money!” they say as they rush out the door. Just as bad for building positive outcomes, they will pull rank and posture when they feel threatened.

Obviously, in business situations such as these, there is not a sense of belonging. Instead, people feel used and abused and devalued. As well, there is no sense of a balance of give and receive. Politics gain momentum and even the most capable associates do not feel safe. The leaders make themselves big, taking the new ideas and constructive feedback of others, making their associates feel small, resulting in withdrawal and resentment and other negative emotions, which quickly lead to difficult situations, high turnover rates, poor customer service and a drastic reduction in a business’s overall performance.

The bottom line

With emotional intelligence in the workplace comes a sense of wellbeing and excitement. Associates don’t feel like they have to fight for recognition or guard their ideas. Everyone receives liberal helpings of acknowledgement and that creates a sense of collaboration. 

If you are part of a winning company, a healthy sense of accomplishment is prevalent. You walk into the office every day with an advantage – a good sense of accomplishment already created. And don’t you know that opens the door for even more accomplishment!

As part of a positive winning culture and modern workplace, you will likely find yourself doing more and being more because this is expected and appreciated. And what an amazing gift that is!

When a company understands its goal and purpose and fulfills it consistently with high levels of emotional intelligence, this positive organizational DNA seeps into the bones of its associates. They in turn know what their purpose is and desire to fulfill it positively and well.

The power of purpose

Clear purpose inherently creates appetite for life and career, and with that comes the realization that we need to grow our understanding of ourselves and others. We recognize that emotional intelligence is as important, if not more important, than straight smarts.

In this kind of positive environment, relationships move from transactional to deeply relational and our personal connections and our network truly becomes our net worth. We belong, we give others the space to belong, We pay attention to the balance of give and receive and we take our full place while acknowledging the place of others.

To bring it all into perspective, emotional intelligence in the workplace is the foundational difference between having a job and enjoying a fulfilling career.

To find out more about how to grow your emotional intelligence, attend one of our events this year! For more information about my 2024 events click here.

What is Organizational DNA? Building Organizational Success

Organizational DNA

What is Organizational DNA? Building Organizational Success

By now you understand that you have emotional DNA and family DNA and multi-generational DNA. But I wonder if you’ve considered the fact that there is also something called organizational DNA? So, what is organizational DNA? It’s all of those common goals, core values, and unwritten rules that you stumble into at work. Like if you’re not the first one in and the last one out, forget the promotion. That is part of an organization’s DNA.

Just like your emotional DNA is a result of the pattern of your thoughts, feelings, actions, and reactions, organizational DNA is not too different. An event happens, or an idea pops in, or a need comes up, and an organization is created around the thoughts, feelings, and actions around the event, idea or need. Simon Sinek, author and inspirational speaker on business leadership, refers to this as the big “why.” What created this company and the organization’s culture? What was the spark behind it?

Competitive edge

To operate effectively and happily within the idiosyncratic characteristics of a company (never mind coming to hold a competitive advantage), you’ve got to understand what drives the company and the important implications thereof. And it may not be the same as what created the company. For example, you may have a service-oriented company that was created because there were not X services for customers. Okay, that was the first step—the spark. But what drives the company forward and takes it to success? It’s not just that you’re meeting customer needs. Perhaps the strategic factor is that you’re ethical. You are honorable. You deliver great service. You know, all those “mottos” and taglines that you hear people use when they talk about a company? What are those driving factors?

It helps to know the faces behind those driving “mottos.” Who is responsible for their creation? Did the company “motto” originate with the CEO? The boards of directors? Were they created as part of the vision and mission statement? Or did they evolve out of the workplace itself? And if they did, what does this mean? Well, if the mottos and drivers evolve out of the workplace itself, for one thing, it indicates that the company is fluid and dynamic and quite possibly a stimulating work environment to be engaged in. And a challenging one.

There are so many different company organizational structures to consider, it’s kind of hard to think about it. You might be looking at a company that is package driven, customer service driven, or education driven. Once you identify the structure, then the next step is to determine the organization’s purpose. In education, it would be something like “creating a better world by creating smarter, happier kids.” In consumer packaging, it would be things like, “What best practices can meet customer needs and make our products appeal to consumers so that they buy them.” Or “What workforce development will demonstrate a family business’s sophistication? All that is your organizational DNA.

Strategic moves

Obviously, anybody walking into a company really wants to do a bit of a study of the organizational DNA model they’re getting involved with. And by the way, when I work with companies, I often find that a company’s motto or mission statement—even a single word or a phrase can throw you off the mark when it comes to grasping the most authentic organizational pieces. Interestingly enough, Tesla Motors is actually a great example of what I’m talking about here. At Tesla, the stated company mission is “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.”

If I’m an engineer, or a production floor manager, or an automotive designer just coming into the company, looking at the mission statement I’d immediately assume that high-performance teams geared towards creating efficiency and fast product design were the primary elements behind Tesla’s organizational DNA. And I’d be totally wrong making that logical assumption! I’m not saying that high-performance teams driving rapid product design are not a part of Tesla’s organizational DNA. They are. But to understand the other equally important drivers in the organizational DNA of the whole company, you have to investigate the mindset and values of the man behind Tesla Motors itself—CEO Elon Musk.

Alongside mass market accessibility, what actually makes Tesla … well, Tesla, is CEO Elon Musk’s vision to create beauty—form and function—as well as to offer an exceptionally high-quality driving experience that just happens to be housed in a sustainable, electric vehicle. Which means if I come in the door and hit the ground running making operational decisions around trying to slam a product together to get a mass market electric car to market as soon as possible, I’m in deep trouble.

Understanding the words and the motivation behind them are so important when investigating a company’s organizational DNA. Here’s another confusing example. Quite often a company will maintain that “We are a heart-centered organization.” While what this may well be referring to is a relationally-oriented company (more on this shortly), in many people’s minds those words have important implications, often translating as a “not for profit company.” At the very least, saying you are a “heart-centered organization” bears the misleading cachet of being a workplace where nobody really does very well. And that kind of negative organizational language can have potential investors, C-suite executives, and other talented people backing away without looking into the organization any further.

Strategic thinking

Perhaps it was exactly these kinds of erroneous, knee-jerk associations senior managers at Tesla were trying to avoid when they created the “mass market electric car” mission statement. Perhaps their years of experience creating coherent business strategy told them few people would easily believe a high-quality, high-performance, mass-market electric car would be possible? So, the decision makers created an overtly practical mission that would match customer needs and expectations, figuring as a resilient organization with resilient team players, current staff and new employees would manage to navigate the idiosyncratic characteristics of a company like Tesla headed by such an idiosyncratic leader as Musk and be able to just go with the flow and get the impossible job done!

As you can see, with organizational DNA there are so many different underlying factors in play. It’s knowing the words and phrases and the driving ideas that form the DNA that keeps everybody coming to either buy from you or work for you. But it’s also such things as, does this company understand money and its place? What is its strategic planning, economically speaking? Is it a data-driven company or a family-driven company, which tends to be much more relational in its day-to-day operations? (We will get into this shortly.) What creates the structure of this company? What are the building blocks? What’s the competitive advantage? Scarce resources? Major changes in the market? How does it maintain its competitive edge? How does it function economically? These are all components of organizational DNA that you need to understand in order to maximize your time and your efficiency in that company.

Data-driven vs relationship-driven companies

Systems are very elegant creatures. What we don’t work out in our family systems, we will often look to work out in our organizational systems, or what we can’t work out in the organization we then take it back home. Very often if you look at the leader of a company, you can pretty much tell what’s going on in their family by what’s going on in the organization and vice versa. So, they are always in service of each other.

Which finally brings me to data-driven versus relationship-driven companies. Data-driven and relationship-driven companies are two very, very different animals. The former is transactional—it’s about product, details, the Deal, business units, high-performance teams, and organizational performance. The latter is about relationships and HOW you get to the end result every bit as much as the result itself. It’s the kind of company whose organizational DNA is built upon the transformative power of strong leadership, which includes things like mindfulness training that can help individuals with stress management and performance management, building cross-functional team work, all of which adds up to a resilient organization with a lot of good people in it—engaged employees who enjoy being there!

Not surprisingly, if you have somebody who’s coming from the one environment to the other, they struggle for a while to acculturate. It’s a little bit like moving from one country to another—it’s a whole different culture.

In a data-driven system or company everything is, obviously, based on the data. Quite often in this kind of environment, the “heart” of a company and the people in it seem lost. People are considered and promoted strictly on functional merit, productivity, and maintaining a competitive edge. Their communication skills, their ability to work well with others, their ability to organize and motivate people are not important. There is not as much time or thought given to the person per se. It’s what you know, what you can do, and how you’re able to do it effectively.

Relationship-driven companies are all about who you know, how you relate, and common goals.  And while this is certainly a warmer working environment, this orientation has its ups and downs as well. In relationship-driven organizational DNA, you may be the smartest, most efficient person in the room, but if you do not build good relationships and play well with others, you’re going to find yourself floundering.

Which means, if you’re a people person, a relationship-driven company that cares very much about the person and their personal development and professional development is going to feel like a good fit for you. If you are data driven, or accustomed to that kind of environment, not so much. Another way of describing the difference between the two business approaches is one is focused on what is known as hard skills and the other on soft skills.

A data driven company is more focused on your hard skills—your accomplishments, on your education, your organizational effectiveness and your quick, accurate decision making. It’s all about what you can produce for the company. The personal doesn’t enter into things at all. These are very clever and smart people in a fast-moving company situation where you are promoted or moved along based on your ability to do or to go to the next level in a hard skill. 

On the other end, with a relationship-driven company, things like character leadership development and the individual goals of employees are important. It’s about fostering engaged employees, this doesn’t mean relationship-driven companies are not effective and profitable. They are super effective and can be quite profitable. They just focus more on people and what can you do for them in order to get success to happen. Can you take people along for the story? Can you engage and inspire people? This is more of your relationship-driven company. You learn very much to go from transactional relationships to deeper relationships.

Smart people know it’s never a bad idea to deliberately set about working in both environments to acquire a full understanding of these two kinds of companies with their two highly different types of organizational DNA, so they can know what personally suits them better. In the past, this wasn’t really possible, because most business organizations up until a few years ago were pretty much focused exclusively on hard skills.

Today, however, there is a growing recognition of the triple bottom line that considers equally the importance of People, Planet and Profit. In this model, it is understood that the transformative power of good leadership can make all the difference—the kind of inspiring leadership that can take a company, as well as the people in it, on a growth journey. As well, there is a very strong trend towards developing both hard and soft skills in individuals. If you don’t have soft relational skills, how are you going to effectively lead people? Plus, the upcoming generation wants to know things about companies and their leaders, like “What is your purpose? How are you contributing to society? And why should we follow you?”

As you can see, hard and soft skills are both highly relevant today. Having a combination of both is going to give you both breadth and depth, which makes you not just a specialist, but a generalist specialist. And those are highly effective people. As well, there are now hybrid organizations blending both approaches, looking for people who can operate in both organizational worlds. So, don’t be afraid to get both kinds of skills under your belt.

Good luck with your adventure!

To find out more about how to grow your leadership, attend one of our events this year! For more information about my 2024 events click here.

What is Conscious Leadership? Leading with Purpose!

What is Conscious Leadership? Leading with Purpose!

Conscious leaders recognize the importance of having a purpose in both their personal life and professional lives. Any good leader coming into a new company culture focuses very quickly—not just on hard work and profit margin, but on determining “What is the purpose of this company?” In fact, they should know that purpose long before they even come through the front door because they’re going to have to come in and hit the ground running.

Why is knowing a company’s purpose important? Well, once you know what the purpose is, you know how to prioritize. You understand what kinds of goals to set. You grasp the conscious culture that needs to be supported and the decision-making process to get there. And once a leader knows these things it means they can begin to see who is a good fit for which roles and how to play to the strengths of team members and employees.

Beyond the status quo

When nobody knows where they’re going or what they’re doing or how they’re doing it, it’s a little bit like the Headless Horseman charging around creating confusion, constantly reacting to external factors. But once you have a clear purpose and understand an organization’s structure, you can lead in a way that creates enough weight to start pulling people out of lethargy and confusion and onto a defined path. You can inspire people to develop greater emotional intelligence and get them excited about personal growth within the company culture. And don’t you know people love nothing more than clarity and a good game to play with others!

So, a really good leader creates a good game around purpose, finds out what’s in it for every single member of their team, and points out a new and different way beyond the status quo of “business as usual.” This is good systemic leading or leadership 101.

Creation not reaction

Those who assume a leadership position are expected to be more responsible, more insightful, cleverer, and more inspirational than most people. Ideally, they are a self-aware leader with a high level of emotional intelligence and a sense of social responsibility beyond traditional leadership models.

Unfortunately, without knowing about the need for purpose and how purpose drives the organization of an organization, many new leaders quite often end up floundering at the starting point. And this is often an unconscious extension of how they were raised as young people in their own homes and educational settings.

Most people navigate life pretty unconsciously in their personal lives, reacting to people and situations, playing out self-limiting beliefs rather than coming from their true self and a more grounded, purposeful, creative position. This habit of unconscious reaction versus creation has far-reaching consequences, bleeding over into many areas of their lives including their professional lives.

A good leader doesn’t just “happen.” Conscious leadership arises when we begin to mindfully consider every aspect and element of our lives on a day-to-day basis. It happens when we’re ready to take radical responsibility for personal growth and start acting out of our true self.

At that point, our grounded creative, purposeful way of interacting with others and making choices naturally draws us into opportunities where our leadership qualities can shine and our hard work and good example help build a better world for all.

Start your mindful leadership adventure

Conscious leadership is a deliberate decision. It is a commitment to developing ourselves at work and in our personal relationships in our daily lives. In the business world, it is a commitment to developing a money-follows-value mindset, thereby inspiring those around us.

It asks a lot of us—nothing less than a full awareness of the self—which includes being present, engaging a conscious decision-making process, validating the positions and thoughts of others while inspiring greater emotional intelligence, movement and growth.

Mindful leadership happens when we deliberately turn to the highest form of who we are—our true self. And it doesn’t always have to take the form of actively promoting effective leadership approaches focused on things like leadership development and social responsibility in one’s team members. It can be something as simple as a kind act, an invitation, a smile, or a helping hand.

The far-reaching consequences of kindness and compassion—especially if you bear an important professional title—cannot be overstated. Sometimes giving a genuine smile is the single most beneficial thing you can do for someone. It’s a powerful tool. Which means you don’t have to hire a leadership coach to develop potent leadership skills. It’s actually the little things that form the core elements of conscious leadership. And those things—the encouraging nod, the casual offer of assistance, the genuine compliment—you can practice and build upon, day by day on your own.

This conscious awareness and attention to sometimes the smallest things can be developed in anybody—which is why you’ll often hear me say, “Everybody is a leader, whether they know it or not.” In those moments when we reach out in compassion and empathy, we take a position of mindful leadership. When we come from our hearts and from our highest level of intent—to put it bluntly, we are purposefully making powerful magic. Coming from the space of genuine concern and consideration for others, our thoughts, feelings, words and actions have an incredibly positive impact and go a long way towards helping develop the better world we all long to live in.

Starting point

Leaders become leaders when they arrive at the starting point, which is: An awareness that there is more to life than just whatever is there in front of them. When they gain that awareness and make the conscious decision to explore that “something more,” they begin to move out of the status quo of reactionary thinking and unconscious action. As their level of self-awareness increases, they develop the belief that they can do and become even more.  Thus encouraged, they then set out to make personal growth happen. When they make that conscious choice, self-limiting beliefs begin to drop away.

At that point, growth momentum and awareness of the self increases and just keeps on increasing. They may not have consciously set out to become a leader, let alone a mindful one, but they end up embodying all the natural traits of a more conscious leader all the same. Then their good example begins to attract leadership opportunities. And as they step into those opportunities, life experiences reveal to them their expanded capacities for mindful leadership and their personal growth expands even more. It’s really a fluid, self-fulfilling, highly-rewarding upward cycle once the starting point is reached!

So, remember: When you decide to stop sitting there wondering when the right opportunity is going to magically arrive on your doorstep and change life your life for the better, and you start taking personal responsibility for creating and directing your own adventure, you’re going to find there is more to life than whatever is currently in front of you. When that happens and your level of self-awareness begins to increase, you will find your purpose. At the very least you will find the starting point for your purpose.

That’s when magic actually does happen! The self-leadership light will spark and ignite your passion. And that’s the beginning of the awakening leader in you. Where self-leadership will take you doesn’t matter. It might take you into completely different circumstances. You may find yourself at the helm of a thriving business. You may find your personal life becoming more fulfilling. Perhaps the single most beneficial thing that happens is you become a happier, healthier human being. You may find yourself speaking at conscious leadership conferences.

It doesn’t matter. What matters is the true you is showing up and leading the show at last!

Be the leader you were born to be

If you want a better world, you are where it begins. And if the idea of stepping into a leadership role in your life scares you, stop and think: Who else in your family is (or was) a conscious leader? Or are you the first? Did your family members struggle with asserting themselves? Were they suppressed? Were your parents unavailable (emotionally and/or physically.) Were they reactive rather than creative in tough situations? Please know that when we are not available it is often because we are in fear and then we become emotionally triggered and reactive. Perhaps they were too fearful to be conscious leaders.

Can you break that cycle? It takes just one person to choose to do it differently. Here are some things you can do to begin building your conscious leadership:

  • Who did you inspire today, including yourself? Keep written track daily!
  • When last did you congratulate yourself for doing something good?
  • Did you take a moment today to notice all the good things that happened? Did you give others and yourself credit?
  • Notice when you are unnerved or unsettled how best you can self-sooth and remain calm.
  • Note each time you do something kind for yourself.
  • Write down the number of times in a day you make someone smile. (Other than yourself!)

These are all things that those big inspirational leaders do—making a difference just by making a little magic. Keep doing these things and watch the compounding effect as the inspirational leader becomes you.

To find out more about how to grow your leadership, attend one of our events this year! For more information about my 2024 events click here.

How Do You Describe Your Leadership Style? 11 Examples

how do you describe your leadership style

How Do You Describe Your Leadership Style? 11 Examples

Leadership is an important piece of who we are, and yet many of us don’t even know we have it. We deny, ignore or flat out don’t know that part of ourselves. We all display our leadership one way or another in different situations. So, how do you describe your leadership style and what different leadership styles are there?

Perhaps your leadership qualities show up as a mother or father, as a sibling, mentor, teacher, friend, or elder. If you lead in the business arena perhaps you help create a positive work environment as a line manager or as a C suite executive or motivated associate leading team members.

Surprisingly, the shape of your leadership has its roots in your family system, but its wings rely upon your inner spark and your core values. Leadership is often coupled to your purpose in life. It’s about the positive impact that naturally tends to show up in various ways, flowing from the space beyond limiting family cycles and the small thoughts you have about yourself.

The shape of your leadership doesn’t have to be big, fancy, dramatic or over the top—you don’t have to run for president or anything. But stepping up expands your full potential and affects others by opening them up to the bigger picture as well as common goals and shared vision. This realisation creates true leaders.

Plenty of ways

Leadership lives with one foot in the world of possibility. In other words, your personal leadership position is part of the chapter that only you can write.

Just like any other aspect of your life, the shape and expression of your leadership or lack of it begins at home. The starting point begins with where and how you show up in your family system. For example, some of us had to take on a leadership role early in life if a parent was missing or struggling, or if dire circumstances led to us having to step in and step up.

Some of us learned the exact opposite—to melt into the shadows in various ways when situations caused us fear or maybe even hide to survive. Perhaps a sibling needed more attention, and we became the good kid and stepped back so that they could get what they needed and so we became invisible. And yet that “stepping up” spark is still there, waiting to be seen and chosen. Waiting for us to overcome our fears and reluctance and step forward rather than vanish.

Your decisions about what happens to you in your life, your thoughts feelings and actions, or inactions all shape your leadership qualities and leadership strengths—your leadership DNA. They shape the leader you choose to be. As well, they shape the leader you abandon at your and others’ cost.

Good example

There is a coach in the NFL who came from dire circumstances. By all rights, this man should have become a violent gangster and yet he chose to rise at every point and build strong relationships and create a positive impact instead. He didn’t fault the parents who raised him.

He reasoned that they had done the best that they could, and it was his job to take the next step to rise to his fullest potential. He also used his upbringing to connect to kids from troubled areas and teach them problem-solving skills. He taught them that they were not victims and that they had a choice to break limiting cycles and rise up within their own communities.

First step

At some point in our lives we have to ask ourselves if we are going to bury the leader within or let it shine through whatever leadership roles seem natural. And when we decide to let it shine, that’s where we start to take charge of our own lives.

When you awaken the leader within, you begin to focus more on what’s possible and having a shared vision. You find you have more of an appetite for life embracing a bigger picture.

What’s actually happening is that you are finally creating an adventure that’s bigger than where you may be stuck.

If you aren’t sure what your style of leadership is or what kind of leader you could be, contemplate your heart’s desire. That is the inner leader waiting to be unleashed by you and what makes a great leader. And remember, you don’t have to lead the world or a basketball team either. Leading, for you, may be setting an example to others by taking a step in the direction of actualizing your dreams, thus motivating others to do the same. This is how to discover your best leadership style.

Help with the decision-making process

If you find yourself lost, stuck, or struggling. If you really can’t see the leader within, or see the type of leadership style that resonates with you, ask yourself the following questions:

  • “Do I know that I have this inner leadership?”
  • “When did I make a decision that I was/was not a leader?”
  • “What thoughts, feelings and actions do I take to make that true?”
  • “What does that decision cost/give me?”
  • “Where would I like to shine?”
  • “Where am I too afraid to shine?”
  • “What am I really good at?” Pro tip – kindness, generosity and inspiration are strong leadership qualities.

Deep inside, everybody is a leader but many of us suppress that desire to get out there and be the biggest version of ourselves possible. We watch movies and then we wish we were the superhero, all the while ignoring the inner prompt to be exactly that in our own lives.

How good does it feel when you accomplish a task or a dream? Once you start doing and it becomes a habit, your leadership comes out to play. Your “can do” kicks in and so does your life adventure.

Some of us may feel that we have never had the leadership skills, or that the term “good leader” doesn’t even vaguely apply to us. And yet in those quiet moments when we wish we could be a good leader … or do something bigger with our lives … the leader is sitting right there along with all the necessary resources waiting for you to take the first step forward.

Just one new thought “I can.” Or “I am going to do _____” begins the shift. One new feeling locks it in, and one new action begins the journey.

Real-life examples

The question really isn’t if you are a leader, it’s what kind of a leader are you? Are you a hidden leader? A reluctant leader, an absent leader? A dramatic leader, a fearful leader? Do you have an autocratic leadership style or an authoritative leadership style? Or is transformational leadership or coaching leadership style more your thing?

How do you describe your leadership style? Below are several of the most common styles of leadership to help you get started. Look and see which one most closely fits you.

Atlas leader – Carries the load for everybody. (Thought: How many mothers or fathers out there would qualify for this?) Do you carry too much for those around you? Are you aware that in doing so you limit the discovery of the potential of those whom you carry?

Team leader – Shares the load and empowers others to find their own way in the world. Shares the ups and the downs and everybody grows.

Crisis leader – Really good during emergencies. (Thought: Are you the person who is super good during a crisis, or do you inadvertently create them?) Is there constant drama in your life? Are you always rescuing or needing to be rescued or pointing out flaws or inflating situations? Do you realize that this may create neediness or unnecessary drama and stress?

Centered leader – Also really good during emergencies. Relaxes or becomes focused and centered. Brings a state of peace and capability to the situation. Always creates a positive work environment and helps others develop problem-solving skills.

Whirlwind leader – Goes in several directions at once but doesn’t complete a project. (Thought: Such leaders often want to be perceived as saviors but instead create chaos and exhaustion.) Are you someone who starts well but doesn’t finish well? Are you aware that nobody gets a win this way? Not even you?

Calm leader – The opposite of a crisis or whirlwind leader, these leaders can project a sense of calm no matter what. (Thought: Calm leaders don’t shoot from the hip. They consider all aspects thoughtfully and make a deliberate decision.) Are you or have you been in the presence of a calm leader? How did it affect you/others?

Driving leader – Pushes associates constantly for more, better, different. (Thought: These leaders expect a lot of their associates but often lose them to burnout.) Are you someone who pushes others to their limits “for their own good?” How do you know what their own good is?

Invitational leader – The opposite of a driving leader, these leaders invite others to step up into their fullest potential. (Thought: Such leaders encourage creativity and failing up. They tend to be glass-half-full leaders.) Have you ever noticed how invitation offers those around you a chance to open up and step up?

Hands-on leader – This leader is very involved with day-to-day operations. They feel that they should roll up their sleeves like anyone else, but sometimes too much. (Thought: Such a leader is often “in the weeds” concerned that the sky may fall if they’re not there.) Are you aware that a hands-on leader may stunt the growth of others if they take over too much? 

Delegating leader – They are hands on but only when needed. Knows when to step in and when to step out and empowers others to find their own solutions.

Hands-off leader – This leader believes that everyone is their own boss and leaves them to get on with things. (Thought: These leaders tend to issue a blanket project and assume everyone knows how to tackle it. Then they are confused when everybody seems to flounder.) Have you ever wondered why those around you are confused, do the wrong things, or feel they are unable to ask for clarification? This may be why.

Available-as-needed leader – This leadership approach is not in the weeds but is available to consult or even go there as needed. They inspire confidence in others and foster a sense of pride.

Parent leader – The big papa or mama bear leader. (Thought: In companies where everyone is treated like a family member, it is very clear who the parent is and who the children are.) Did you have to step up at an early age and take over for one or both parents? Have you never stepped down? Are you aware that you are treating those around you like children—which means they can never grow up? Are you absolutely exhausted by the weight you carry yet unable to set it all down for fear something bad might happen?

Empowering leader – These leaders acknowledge the strengths of others and do not need to be the mother or father figure. They don’t make others small, encouraging them instead to rise to the occasion in different situations and grow their own wings.

Inspirational and visionary leader – This leader does a lot of their own self-development resulting in heightened creativity and followership. (Thought: These leaders are determined, purpose driven, goal oriented, and inclusive. They build strong relationships. They don’t want to do the whole adventure themselves but are inspiring enough for others to take the journey with them.)

What will it take for you to invest in yourself as a leader who inspires and motivates? What difference could that make?

There are many levels of leadership which we will discuss in more depth at another time.  Looking through this list you may find that more than one applies to your leadership style. Each has its pros and cons, and each has the potential for growth.

How you lead matters – not just to those around you but to you. You might ask yourself where your leadership style originated and how you can evolve it. This is the best approach to helping your discover your leadership style and thrive.

At the crux of it all is this. You have the leader within. You have always had it. If you haven’t activated it yet, now is a good time to start. Sometimes when we won’t self-activate it may take a crisis to press the on button which is a whole lot less fun.

Take the time to listen to the part inside you that longs to be…and then start moving in that direction. Not only for yourself but for those around you and those who come after you. Leadership is a door to the life you dream about…open the door!

I look forward to showing you how to unleash your fullest potential and discover your leadership abilities.  For more information about my 2024 events click here.

Why Does Leadership Matter? Being an Effective Leader

Arrows pointing up on a navy blue background

Why Does Leadership Matter? Being an Effective Leader

Why does leadership matter? Well, showing up and being fully YOU (which is the mainstay of leadership) not only serves your family, your community, and your work environment, but it also is the best way to keep vibrantly alive, creative, optimistic, and totally involved in your own life adventure long term.

Leadership Matters

Whether you are aware of it or not, anytime you take responsibility for evolving an aspect of your life you are taking a new course and being a leader.

At its simplest, leadership is how the world expands and goes to a higher level. And it does so through you and every other person who, through much effort and a willingness to uncover the deepest self, takes that self to the next higher level over and over again.

Being a leader involves dealing with your emotional responses to a variety of situations, getting intimate with the right questions and identifying your wants and needs—then figuring out how to make them happen. By leading yourself, taking the next step, finding creative solutions to complex problems over and over, you end up making a substantial difference, not just in your own life but in the world around you.

Clear vision

Leadership brings opportunities, adventures, and learnings. It gifts you a competitive advantage.

When you are passive and do not take responsibility for your own growth and develop self-leadership skills, you are more likely to blame others for your lack of opportunity, unsatisfying work environment, and overall absence of hope. But if you step up when you see a gap, a lack, or an opportunity, not only will you fill that gap and address that opportunity, but you will begin shaping the world around you into the way you would like it to be.

Every single human being has the spark of leadership potential within them and can become a true leader. The question is whether they activate that inner spark or not. The external circumstances—the family and social and work environment—do not matter. You don’t need to research leadership development programs or take a transformational leadership course. Great accomplishment and solid leadership can be developed anywhere, anytime. Here’s an example.

A most significant impact

I was raised in South Africa. I have seen how difficult it is in developing nations for students graduating from high school to find jobs and growth opportunities. Often, in many situations like this, it’s easy for young people to develop their leadership potential by taking on negative leadership roles, running guns or smuggling drugs.

I remember one group of about 30 students with nothing but time on their hands and an absence of hope who ended up choosing to turn all the obstacles they faced into opportunity. Determined to do something good for the public sector with their time, they decided to fill all the potholes in the streets around where they lived until the area that was once derelict and unsafe became cleaner and drivable.

Pretty soon family members and the senior leaders in the community started to follow their lead. This led to a string of other community projects unfolding. Word got around and suddenly the group found themselves in the spotlight being interviewed by different people, including international media networks. This resulted in scholarships for each of the 30 young people and the promise of a job offer to each one upon graduation from college.

Talk about creating something from nothing! Talk about a great accomplishment of solid leadership! Somehow these young people realized that they had what they needed to begin a journey of great social value. They found common goals that tapped their inner leadership and leaned on their sense of altruism and servant leadership that ended up inspiring millions. They threw their whole selves into making a difference.

Next Step

What you tell yourself about who you are and what you can do makes a substantial difference. It’s part of being a leader. Leaders talk themselves and their communities into bigger possibilities. They are not victims. Instead they see opportunities where none seem to exist.

Look around. Do you like what you see in your family? In your school or business? In your community. Your country? And if you don’t like what you see, what can you do to change it?

Here are a few things to get you thinking:

  • Write down a time when you were a leader of some sort.
  • Describe the event. It can be as simple as playing “Follow the Leader” as a kid. Were you always a follower, or did you always try to lead? Or was there a balance?
  • How did it feel when you led? Leadership is often ignited by a decision about an event. Have you always been that way? If not, when did that start for you and what was happening for you at the time?
  • How did it feel when you followed?
  • Now that you are an adult, where and how do you play follow-the-leader? Or do you lead? Under what circumstances?
  • Do you wait for opportunity to come to you? Or do you identify opportunities and “go for it,” showing others the way?
  • Write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions around these questions.

Next, write down something you would like to have happen that will require you to lead the way—if only lead yourself!

  • How will doing this affect you?
  • How will it affect those around you?
  • What new skillset do you need to develop to make this thing happen?
  • What one new thought, feeling, and/or action can you take to start actualizing what you’d like to have happen?

Leadership matters. Own yours!

I look forward to showing you how to unleash your fullest potential and discover your leadership abilities.  For more information about my 2024 events click here.

How to Stop Imposter Syndrome & Become a Great Leader

How to stop imposter syndrome

How to Stop Imposter Syndrome & Become a Great Leader

As a coach dealing in executive leadership skills, I have the privilege of working with many top executives across many sectors on how to succeed as a leader. I’ve discovered that, quite frequently, executives stop short of being as great as they can be. The reasons for this differ: “I’m comfortable where I am. It’s too much responsibility to get bigger. I don’t know if I’m capable.” One of the more interesting excuses is: “If I take on a higher position, someone is going to find out I’m a fraud.” 

Imposter syndrome is real—at least in people’s minds until they finally realize the Imposter Syndrome is itself an imposter! The fear of not being enough, not being good enough, or being a fraud—despite having amazing gifts, talents and experience—plagues a surprising number of people. And this is partly because as much as entrepreneurial leadership is admired, we come from a global society that tends to frown upon standing out. Which means that even highly qualified, intelligent people run away from opportunities to excel.

And yet the very people who are paralyzed believing they’re imposters are actually pioneers!

How to be an inspiring leader

Those who dare to be big have one clear differentiator. They embody what I call Pioneer Syndrome. They may not have the answers, but are willing to find them or create them. All are willing to forge ahead where others fear to tread. They’re people with amazing gifts, talents and experience who often mistakenly believe they’re imposters because they’ve been taught to doubt themselves and believe that thinking well of themselves and having self-confidence is egocentric!

Some of the best leaders in the world started very small. Many have gotten where they’ve gotten in large part based on the soft skills they’ve been willing to build. Skills like patience, persistence, the ability to listen, good communication, empathy and imagination. Skills they’ve been able to leverage to good effect.

They moved upwards, one step at a time, even in the face of feeling uncertain and, yes, unworthy. They went for it despite their fears—just like all good pioneers do.

Interestingly, great leaders use these skills to their advantage all the time. And the wonderful thing about that is, most soft skills don’t cost anything to learn. They simply require that you pay attention and be the best version of yourself that you can be. Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, is a great example. He started out way low on the totem pole. But he was willing to pitch in wherever he was needed and always treated people with kindness. Something he is known for to this day. 

We often call such people visionaries and self-starters. Some, less kindly, refer to them as takers and overly ambitious. And yet the world cannot advance without somebody being willing to be big. One of the advantages of visionary leadership is the ability to inspire many people to their best “Yes!” That is the way great teams and great companies are formed. Inspired by examples of visionary leadership, people unite in a dream bigger than themselves, yet still fulfill their own dreams within the bigger goal.

How to combat imposter syndrome

Being great doesn’t mean that every person must be a CEO. But, stop and think. Given how much time you spend at work, the bigger you can be, the more passionate you feel about what you’re doing, the better you will feel about yourself. And one of the advantages of visionary leadership is you’ll also have a much greater positive impact upon the world while having nicer adventures along the way!

Here’s quick exercise. Ask yourself: “What personality trait do I have that could be turned into a superpower?” It could be your smile, your willingness to put in extra time, your resilience, or your kindness. These are not things we are generally taught to believe are important. But they are no small things! You can actually begin to build a personal brand around kindness, imagination, and persistence and other such soft skills.

Become a great leader

Stop and notice how the one person in the office that everybody goes to for assistance tends to advance. Watch how far they go. It’s not about hard skills. “Heart eats hard for breakfast.”

There are people who seem to have the humblest careers and yet somehow seem to have a lot of impact on people. They also tend to make a lot of money. I’ve watched some waitresses and waiters do this. And taxi drivers. Why do they make more than others in the same profession? They use their people skills. They’re not afraid to be big. To put themselves “out there.” To be seen. To be noticed. They’re not afraid to be themselves. They’re not afraid to care.

You want to know how to become a great leader? How to combat imposter syndrome? Leverage your heart. Your interests. Your passions. Your truest self. Being big isn’t egotistical. It grows the world and creates abundance, one courageous person at a time. 

“How big are you willing to be?” It’s up to you to find out!

To find out more about your emotional DNA and how to move from limited to being big,  join me at one of my live events.

Blessings or shortcomings

Let’s face it most of us were taught to find what’s wrong with us do our best to fix it so we can suffer our way to transformation. It’s a centuries long tried and tested approach to advancing ourselves. Trouble is, it’s a bit shortsighted and frankly often unnecessarily painful. So, who can blame us if we are often blind to wants to serve us and see it as a shortcoming or failure on our part? Imagine the universe extending its hand to you only to be met with your fears and self-doubts. Your systemic blindness.

How often are you faced with a challenge that has you feeling like you’re somehow not equipped to deal with it or have success or fulfillment? How often do you buy into the meta myth of not being good enough? It’s as though thinking these thoughts puts us into good standing with that ancient need to struggle in order to belong.

The problem with that is that we can’t see the challenge for what it is. An invitation to grow. A blessing. So often we see the challenges presenting as evidence that we’ve done something wrong. Perhaps its time to look at it a little differently.

The other day a client of mine was in a state of panic. His line manager had given him a compliment and then asked him why he’d never shown up this way before. Instead of acknowledging that he was growing and consciously applying himself and the results were showing, he chose to think he’d been neglectful of his career. Just like his dad. He could not hear the compliment. His mother had taught him not to ever think he was too important. AKA don’t listen to the good news. Ouch.

How often do you think you’ve got it wrong when in fact you are growing?

Perhaps it’s worth considering that when you feel those inner doubts it may be a pull to the echoes of old patterns of struggle in your family system. However, if you start looking at what’s in front of you with a sense of curiosity and possibility you may just begin writing your own chapter. You could begin changing what you thought was fate into a destiny. How incredible is that?

There’s a saying that when the student is ready, the master appears. There’s another piece to that. When the student is ready, the challenge appears. It’s a blessing and an affirmation that you are ready to go to the next level.

When you hit a brick wall back up a few yards. You might just see that the brick wall is actually just the rise to the next step up. The next time you feel cursed, take a minute to realize you are being told that you are indeed enough and absolutely ready. Instead of doubting yourself, dare to look at what’s in front of you and then look beyond it to how you will feel and what you will have accomplished when you get to the other side.

Next time a challenge appears realize that you may just been blessed.. Don’t look down. Look ahead.

Leaders are created by their choices

Align Your Personal & Professional Life

Your level of leadership depends on where you came from and what you tell yourself about that.

By what they think, hear, feel and also by what they inherit from the generations that
came before them. Above all they are created by what they make that inheritance consciously mean in their lives.

Legendary coach Vince Lombardi once said:

“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.

And that’s the price we have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”

He’s partially right but it’s not just about hard work.

It’s about consistent and conscious work.

It’s also about knowing what lives in your family system and how that’s affected you and
make no mistake it does.

Whether you know them or are closely connected or not at all.

At some point legendary leaders make the choice to be leaders.

They choose to have something to stand for and then they
dedicate themselves to being the best leaders and living the best lives that they can.

They understand that a great life isn’t about just drifting. It’s about crafting mindfully.

And if you ask them, they can generally tell you the moments or events that ignited that.

Quite often it begins early on in life. Many times, in reaction to an event and what they made that event mean for them.
Once that decision is made and accepted, it becomes their north star.

They explore, grow, and assimilate everything aligns them with their decision.

They continually add knowledge and insight to their inner world which in turn affects their outer world.

They teach themselves to be willing to look.

In terms of success in our lives, more than anything, it’s a matter of making a choice and then dedicating yourself to making that a reality.

To do that you have to able to pay attention to what lives in your mind and in your systems around you and your family system is rich with clues.

They live in your language, thoughts, feelings actions and reactions. In your leadership, success, relationships, finances.

In fact, just about everything around you.

You don’t just inherit physical DNA you also inherit your patterns of thoughts feelings and actions and the first place

they come from are your family systems. We are all constantly activating and wiring instructions to our brains.

Often not very kind ones either and changing that begins a process of success and fulfillment.

The most successful people know that they have to do this mindfully and consciously. They align everything they do, say,
feel or think with what they want and a set of instructions that keep them headed in the right direction.

Their self-talk, choices, goals, and commitment keep them on track.

It’s all about consciously choosing and then dedicatedly and repeatedly
growing strong patterns or changing limiting ones, that takes them to success.

Mindful patterns require, passion, a clear goal or driver or both and the willingness to look at and invest in themselves.
Often I ask the leaders I work with what they stand for and why that is so important and most of them can tell me what started
the ball rolling for them and what pulls them to keep going and growing.

What many of them don’t consciously connect with, are the dots between what started them on their path and what may
have happened in generations prior to them.

Or as the result of a significant event in their own lives and their response to

multi-generational patterns of thought, feelings, and actions they used to react to the event.

You see great leaders don’t happen in a vacuum.

They use the thoughts, feelings and actions that live in their family or
organizational systems too. And when they do so consciously, it enables them to elevate from being good leaders to legendary

Let me explain and then give you an example:

Who we are as leaders is based first on our primary pattern makers. Our family
system. We watch listen and tell ourselves what is right or wrong and then act accordingly.

By the way we do that throughout our lives in our day to day world.

Society is a large meta system and different parts of it also have their rules and regulations that we obey to belong and disobey
at our risk.

Every family has a unique pattern of language, thoughts, feelings, and actions to which we are constantly responding.
We move either in reaction to, or in collusion with, our family systems.

And for those of you leaders who are not connected to your families, even you are responding to them in their absence or
presence: “I will never be like them.” “I will show them all.” “If they knew me they might be impressed” “I will make a family of
my own through my company.”

As I said you are evolving in reaction to or collusion with them. Know them or not.
Some of you will tell me “I don’t even know them, so how can I be like them?”

Research suggests that these patterns are passed down to us through the generations. Mostly quite unconsciously.

In life with respect to the systems of which we are a part we have two choices. To repeat the patterns or to do it differently.

A phrase you will hear quite often in systemic work and constellations.
The most intriguing aspect of systemic work is perhaps to realize that our family and indeed all other systems are geared
towards our evolution. Waiting and wanting for us to change.

Hoping we will add to or change the history or stuck-ness that lives in our family line. The minute we start looking at our
patterns and/or the patterns of those who came before us we are no longer flying blind. And when we embrace the gifts that
those patterns offer us in terms of growth everything changes.

Now the world and our families are always in service of us and we can see it.

Sometimes pieces of our past or childhood are painful, and we get stuck there. It’s when we can look at those places and
notice their gifts waiting for us to grow them that things begin to shift for us.

We have been so conditioned as human beings to suffer our way into transformation that we have no idea that we have
success and fulfillment in our very own hands.

But how?

It’s all the wiring that we do in reaction to what’s around us and what came before us.
Our brains and systems are truly magical (alright ‘remarkable’) collaborators when we use them wisely and consciously and leaders who do this become visionary leaders. They use what they have to create what they want.

We are the creators of our world around us. We tell ourselves things, have feelings in response and then believe those
feelings and tell our brains this is what’s happening and wire it in. We believe what we are telling ourselves about ourselves
and the world around us all the time!!

And then we make that the truth only it’s really just our truth!

Leaders do this all the time and systemic work and constellations teaches good leaders to become great leaders by
exploring those patterns in their family and organizational systems and choosing what they wish to make them mean in
their own lives and leadership.

They are astounded to see how much of who they are begins in the family system and even more amazed to see how their
family systems have contributed to who they are as leaders.

I teach an entire module of work that I teach devoted exclusively to leaders and organizations and how to explore and
evolve both.

Once leaders know what lives in their systems, they are able to see what has held them back and what has elevated them.
They learn to explore obstacles and limitations and reframe them into the gifts and strengths they were meant to be.

I recently had a client who went into a high state of anxiety because she thought she had messed up her entire career by
neglecting to take good care of it. She was under the mistaken impression that just ‘being a good
soldier’ would get her noticed and result in rewards including promotions.

Life doesn’t work that way. We have to take good care of those careers and grow them like children.

As we started working together I was curious to understand why she hadn’t gone all the way to the top?

She certainly had the capability. We looked at ways that she could step up and gain more visibility and within a short while

one of her leaders told her they were impressed and surprised and wondered where she had been all this time?

What a compliment! Well not for my client! She went into shock, thinking she had neglected her career somehow.
So, we took a look at her father’s career and she realized that he had always said: “Always look after your career, work hard
but don’t stick your neck out too far.

She had faithfully listened to not sticking her neck out too far and made that her mantra and in doing so she had yet another insight.

He once told her he wondered what might have happened if he’d taken some bigger projects or chances that he had been

offered but his father had said family first and turned down a large promotion of his own.

Notice the multi-generational effect?

When she could see that she had built a solid framework like her dad had she was pleased!

She’d done what the family system said was right.

At the same time, she realized that not sticking her neck out and
promoting herself was hurting her.

Yet here was the opportunity… her father had also said I wish I had taken a few more risks but… family first.

She was able to see that by making herself more visible and showing who she was and what she stood for she could

put herself in a great position to excel. It wasn’t taking a chance it was investing in her growth.

When she pointed out to her father that he had always said family first just like her grandfather, he showed her how
furthering her own career afforded her family more chances. So, she could be at ease with that too.

Later when she spoke with her mother, her mother told her that she had always wished that her father would have gone as
far as he could and that settled her even further.

But take a look at how that language that lived in her family precluded her at first from taking a compliment

from her boss and instead turning it into self-doubt and shock.

We all do that. We do what I call toilet talk.

Leaders learn to move beyond that and wire their brains differently and consciously.

They invest in what grows them not what slows them.

Systemic work and constellations show you where and how you set yourself up for failure and how to flip that around and use
the multi-generational patterns in your system for success.

Neuroscience will tell you that you are re-wiring your brain.

Systemic work and constellations use a multidimensional process called a constellation to explore where your patterns
came from, how they serve or limit you, and how to reframe them into patterns of success.

As leaders, this is a powerful tool for taking your leadership to the next level.

Moving you from good to great.

I work with a number of Fortune 500 leaders around the world and with leaders at all levels in all walks of life. I am honored to
be able to watch everyday people elevate their internal leadership and shine.

I look forward to meeting you too and watching the leader in you emerge.

Now it’s your turn.

Please share below so we can learn from each another in our community!

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us on our contact page if you have any questions or need support. We are here to serve your leadership!

Is Systemic Work and Constellations Transformational?


I am often asked is constellations work transformational?

Will it unleash the power within me as other disciplines offer?

Can it rewire my brain?

Can I use this approach as a practical way to change my life?


The simple answer is yes. Just like other approaches, the results depend on the client and that’s good news. If you are ready to take charge of your life and if you want more, than yes this is an approach that may help you to achieve the shifts that can facilitate change. 


Unconscious Loyalties

Imagine discovering that you are unconsciously loyal to hidden patterns in your system and that they may be running your life. Now, what if you could actually see them and explore your thoughts, feelings and decisions about issues, events, relationships, money, leadership and then consciously do something different? How might your life change? Systemic work and constellations facilitate that journey.

Constellations illuminate those hidden patterns and unconscious loyalties, they reveal obstacles, limitations, possibilities. Engaging multiple senses, this dimensional approach enables deep insights and lasting shifts and we know that by changing thoughts and emotions you are indeed capable of rewiring your brain. And when use those changes to break multi-generational patterns, your life can change too.


Have I seen careers rise and lives change? Yes. Too many times to count at this stage. Once people understand the framework of this approach and they are committed to change, they are able to leverage their insights, change their feelings from reactive to creative, and harness the power of their choices to create “the remarkable” in their lives. 

Fortune 500 companies use this approach to solve complex problems with high engagement and success. Individuals report amazing shifts in increasing numbers and the field of human potential recognizes that we are quite capable of life-changing breakthroughs. Some people call it magical – we call it unlocking your natural abilities to create a destiny rather than settling for fate.


Over the coming months and throughout the book I am writing, (it may take a while) I will be sharing practical ways for you to use this powerful approach to create the life you want and yes you can do it. You can do it!  You are going to find out how capable you are of doing the incredible. And if you want to accelerate your own life change within a growing community then you are welcome to attend one of our workshops where we work with you to facilitate those insights and changes.

Start Today – Don’t Wait for January 1st! 

So today, your first shift begins. It may seem small at first but pay attention. That’s one of the first rules in any sort of transformative work. Pay attention. Notice small changes – and big ones. They aren’t a coincidence. There’s no such thing. Transformation relies on you being a partner in the process. 

  • Write down one limiting thought on a piece of paper e.g. I’m not good enough.
  • Write down one feeling that you have that limits you on a separate piece of paper– I feel scared or angry or sad or hopeless.
  • Place them on the floor in front of you and back away a bit.
  • Now notice what happens for you as you walk towards each one. Use as many senses as you can (No tasting the paper please????)
  • Notice what happens in your mind and your body.
  • That’s you using multiple senses to connect with what’s going on inside you! These senses and abilities to notice are going to take you places!

We are tuning into your ability to feel and notice things. It begins with knowing yourself and understanding your ability to perceive and shift. Now ask yourself:

  • When did I first think this thought, or feel this feeling?
  • Who else in my family thought or felt this way?
  • Does it serve me? Does it belong to me or have I inherited or borrowed it?
  • Is it mine to change? Am I the change agent? Is this the chapter that is mine to write my way?
  • Am I ready to look at it?


For the next month, I want you to explore the sentence and the feeling you wrote down. 

  • See if you can identify their origins.
  • Notice everything that they are costing you.
  • Step towards those pieces of paper and then away from them and notice how your thoughts and feelings change as you move closer or further away. 

We are building your ability to sense and feel what is going on around you so that you can use it to understand yourself and then create your biggest life!  Here we come 2020!  

And as always, How big are you willing to be?

Sentenced to Number Two


Leadership styles don’t just happen in a vacuum.

How we are as leaders begins with who we are in our family system coupled to events, and decisions we make about those events. Often unconscious loyalties can lead us to be smaller versions of ourselves.

Jake was well-respected in the global company he’d been part of for the last ten years. He had a real flair for understanding difficult bosses and translating their needs into jobs well done. In a few years he might retire, he said. Life was good. 

He came to see me because his current boss was retiring, and he wanted something different. He was great at getting others promoted without ever getting the credit for the work he did behind the scenes. I asked what stopped him from being a leader in his own right and he said he’d always been told he was a great number two. I asked where that had started, and he said it began way back as a kid when his mother had told him he was a great number two man in the house and that had stuck. He’d developed a real talent around that. Then he remembered that his father had also been a great number two at his own place of work. 

Hidden Loyalty:

Through work we did together Jake began to realize that he had a hidden loyalty to his father. If number two was good enough for his dad,  it was good enough for him. He also remembered that a manager at his first job had told him that he would go far if he didn’t settle for less and now he wondered what might happen if he explored that possibility. We worked on thoughts, patterns, sentences, and mindsets that kept him limited, seeing what was true and what was simply something he had told himself.

He even asked his father’s blessing to go as far as he could and be a number one, a conversation that moved them both. He reported several times that he could feel his thoughts and emotions changing. He found himself stepping forward and saying yes to all sorts of things. He even volunteered to travel abroad to facilitate goodwill between his company and a new partner. He’d been interested in the culture for a long time and fit in really well.  

Within six months Jake had taken an overt lead in company projects and made suggestions that were so helpful to the organization that he was promoted to be an international team lead.

He says that life is no longer good,  it’s incredible and that being fully himself is unbelievable!

He has developed a real flair for being number one too. 

Systemic coaches with a background in constellations understand the multi-generational ties that bind us and the treasure that lies in our thoughts, words and actions. Once clients understand this simple yet effective framework for changing their lives, they are creating their own lives, not repeating the history of their ancestors. 

In our leadership DNA workshops, we explore patterns in leadership, their origins and their effects. Then we look at the hidden gifts, events, thoughts, emotions and mindsets within your leadership style and help you to break through your own barriers and elevate your ability to become an inspiring and visionary leader.