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Whirling Chief


Sesil Pir

Sesil Pir

Nº 192

On Vacation!


It is that time of the year again.

After a very busy first half of 2018, we are now off (in rotation) for our summer holidays until the end of August.

For those who are looking to catch up on reading, please find some of our ‘most-hit’ articles below:

For those interested in following us on LinkedIn, please find some of our ‘most-hit’ blogs below:

And those on Twitter, please connect with us here.

We wish you a joyful, healthful, heart-ful summer to come… Cheers!

Whirling Chief Team

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  • 11 July 2018
Whirling Chief

HR Management

Nº 191

Unleashing Performance Potential


When an employee fails or even just performs poorly, as people leaders, we typically do not look for a fault in ourselves.

The employee doesn’t understand the work, one of us might contend. Or the employee isn’t driven to succeed, can’t set priorities, or won’t take direction. Whatever the reason, the problem is often assumed to be only the employee’s fault—and the employee’s responsibility. 

But is it? Sometimes, of course, the answer is yes. Some employees are not up to their assigned tasks and never will be, for lack of knowledge, skill, or simple desire. But sometimes an employee’s lack of performance can be very closely tied to motivational elements supported by people leads, organizational elements and/or culture.

Human beings are far more complex than we give it credit to. Our performances are complex. Yet, there is valid science behind maximizing performance. If we are looking to improve performance – individually or collectively, we need to consider many levers in a systems’ context.

Some of us refer to ‘traditional’ performance management processes as “messy”; some refer to it as “unnecessary” and some are eager to try a new standard. We would like to pass on a caution that though a good number of organizations are trying to evolve their performance management practices, it is too soon to say what will be the impact of current trends. And none, thus far, have abandoned their practices. It is important for us to keep in mind when we adopt a one-way view into outcome(s), we end up decreasing the complexity of substantial issue(s) into single entities. When we narrow our focus into specific cause(s), we often unintentionally end up building organizational practices that potentially birth process biases.

Today, we want to take some of the offline conversations around performance management public; and provide a safe platform for us to exchange ideas on!

Perhaps the right question is not whether we should “do-away” with our performance management processes, perhaps the right question is what may be the factors moderating or mediating the effect of human performance in the workplace?

Sharing CEB data below, wanting to brainstorm together: Tell us about a behavior, a thought, a motion, a culture that’s helped you or someone you know/ you’ve led truly flourish and reach a higher potential?

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  • 9 July 2018
Whirling Chief

Leadership & Team Development

Nº 190

Looking Inside to Lead Ahead


One of our clients we respect deeply asked us in the previous weeks how to better ‘control emotions’ in the workplace.

This is a subject majority of us struggle with in life, especially in context of our work environments, where stress levels are often too high. Therefore, we wanted to share some pragmatic tips.

First and foremost, we invite our leaders to rethink terminology. The word ‘control’ in the context of emotions implies there may be a ‘right’ way or ‘wrong’ way of being; where in reality, our human way of being is quiet complex and natural.

We find it often helps to rethink the vocabulary around how we understand, connect to and better manage our emotional states if we want to build stronger will to gain emotional agility. When we accept the complexity of our various states and allow ourselves space to just feel, we grow mental and physical capacity to better navigate through our emotions. On the other side, when we grow a judgment around how we may be feeling, we literally incapacitate ourselves and push our natural states to ‘become’ a particular way.

Designer Ingred Fetell Lee puts it beautifully in this example…

“Adults, who exhibit genuine joy are often dismissed as childish, too feminine, unserious, or self-indulgent, so we hold ourselves back from joy.”

Dr. Susan David of Harvard Business School writes in depth about how our emotional state develops, the why and the how of understanding our insights in her book, Emotional Agility.

It is equally important to recognize emotions are incredibly valuable and offer a bounty of benefits. When we are able to recognize and process them correctly; when we grow skill to cope with them effectively, we can learn a lot about who we are, our unique needs and desires.

Emotions send us key messages at critical times, which help us connect to our core way of ‘being‘.

There are five specific traits or behaviors we often observe from people leaders who are recognized for their emotional agility in the workplaces we serve:

  1. They keep clear boundaries in regards to their values,
  2. They are not afraid to show up to their emotions (they will get to the very bottom of why they are angry and nicely, for example),
  3. They are mindful about creating space to respond to the emotion and not react,
  4. They are willing to initiate a conversation and/or to act if something needs to be said or done,
  5. They show and share desire to shift to positive state of mind after effectively managing conflict.

Recognize there are two specific pre-requisites to growing emotional agility (that’s not specifically called out above): getting clarity around one’s values and practicing courage. Without those two attributes, it becomes that much more difficult to grow emotional insight.

If you are looking to learn more about your unique way of being, if you want to grow emotional agility in the workplace and/or want to rethink how you should up as a people leader, please note an executive coach (of credible background and experience !!!) can be of great help.

To that end and with their permission, we would like to share a few names of accredited, capable and confident coaches (in no particular order) we and/or our clients have worked with in the near past and we have received great value through the experiences:

If you find yourself in need, do seek one out.

You’ll be amazed how much you can make progress with company in your journey.

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  • 4 July 2018
Whirling Chief

Organizational Development

Nº 189

Taking Back Our Employee Experience


The role of a people leader in the workplace is one of the most significant in terms of impact on organizational performance. When we are presented with an opportunity to build direct influence over others, we hold a vital role in not only aligning capabilities towards organizational goals; but also in shaping organizational culture.

It is an unfortunate fact that in today’s corporate environments, such vital roles are still being handed to a few who may or may not be fully ‘ready’ to lead… As a result, we see employees exiting outside of organizations left and right.

If we look at the traditional definition of a ‘manager’, their role include tasks of setting goals, organizing work, communicating information, measuring impact and developing others*, yet in the 21st century, can we really treat people as cogs anymore?

Understanding the impact language has on our brain processing, is ‘manager’ really suitable title for people leadership roles?

The term ‘manager’ implies we execute control via our assumed power and authority while the term ‘leader’ implies influence via shared purpose and inspiration.

Further, do our people leads really know how to (1) set objectives, (2) delegate, (3) communicate, etc.? Gallup studies show, for example, a strong link between consistent managerial communication with higher engagement levels, with those combining face-to-face, phone and communication tools seeing the best results. However, evidence shows 69% of managers report feeling uncomfortable communicating with employees in general?

How fair is it to promote individuals into positions of influence without fully equipping them to lead?

At Whirling Chief, we believe a conscious and conscientious development of competent and caring leaders has become necessary.

For this, we have been building a leadership engagement tool (a chat bot) that allows on-demand self-learning for first time people leads. It is being designed and built in collaboration with I/O psychologists and UX experts to provide scenarios that can build up capability through emotional engagement for people leads. In support of our prototype development, we are interested in your experiences and thoughts:

  1. Which situations/ behaviors do you find your people leads to struggle with most?
  2. If you were to pick a character for our tool, which of the two animals below would you choose?

We tend to think, especially in HR, investing in leadership development is inherently a good thing. While there may be some truth to that… The first question to address is WHY.

WHY do we have hundreds of learning catalogs and people still suffer through their leadership experiences?

WHY do we have such exotic development courses while employees struggle to receive basics from their leaders?

WHY do we continue to promote people into leadership positions without adequate preparation?

WHY do we continue to turn a blind eye into ill leadership practices?

The most powerful thing we can do for our global workforce at this time is to be mindful about who we place in roles of influence.

The second most powerful thing we can do is to help those we intend to promote prepare themselves to use the best of their natural talents, adding skills and knowledge to develop and apply their strengths.

In today’s world, the executive’s job us no longer to command and control but to care, cultivate and connect the actions of others. It may be that our terminology and practices were born out of economical focus years and years ago, but we believe it is time to take back the responsibility for our employee experiences.

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  • 2 July 2018
Whirling Chief

From Us

Nº 188

The Human Side of Business


Imagine we had an education system that helped everyone discover their uniqueness and taught them how to develop a sense of ‘being’ grounded in multiple passions and how to share it with the world without having a need to calibrate self against others.

Imagine what our work experiences be like if we had people leaders, who could say “it is great that you are different”; “show us more of your uniqueness so we can all grow from it.”

Imagine we had organizational cultures that embraced the rebel in each one of us, knowing we are deserving and capable; trusting we can be both confident and gentle at the same time.

Elie Weisel, a Nobel Laureate and a holocaust survivor once said:

“We must always take sides as neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

We are a growing community of business and thought leaders taking a side: The human side of business.

Please enjoy a copy of our Q2 Newsletter and if you are interested in making work a human experience, please consider joining us!

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  • 25 June 2018
Whirling Chief

Featured Video, Leadership & Team Development, Video

Nº 187

In Tribute to Kate & Tony…


The past two weeks have been tough on many of us with two high profile suicide cases. I, personally had a tougher time with one over another. Though I choose to not question one’s decision to conclude their life, I will always question whether I/ we could have done anything to make them feel differently…

We have a certain way with our language. The words we choose to exercise and the meanings we load onto them bring upon power over us. In many occasions and I am not certain always with cognition, we have created and pushed upon each other certain very powerful concepts that are literally eating us alive. I genuinely feel the concepts of ‘success’ and ‘happiness’ are two of the biggest…

Majority of us believe the only way to achieve success and/or to be perceived as ‘successful’ is to reach a certain level of income or status in life and that ‘happiness’ is an end. As a result, we make choices (consciously and unconsciously) accordingly.

We put ourselves into jobs we don’t necessarily care for. We push ourselves to engage with situations that don’t support our way of being or with people whose values we don’t align to… We literally force ourselves to work in ways and inside environments that take the joy out of our pure hearts. Most of us put on a work faces and/or leave a part of our personality, inner lives at home, when we go into office – every day. And by doing so, we literally undermine our need to be whole, to know (at all times) that ‘we’re enough’, as well as to share things that scare us without fear of recriminations.

Because when we try to suppress, we only end up amplifying our emotions and when we choose to disconnect (from self and others), we intoxicate our inner experiences.

In today’s video, Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist, Zen priest and the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history shares three key findings for what drives healthy, joyful and productive lives for us as human beings:

  1. Social connections: The more we are connected, the healthier we are, the happier we feel and we live longer.
  2. Quality of our connections: Being in (psychologically) unsafe environments and around lots of conflict is ‘not so good’ for our future states.
  3. Secure attachments: Protective and trust based relationships have a positive impact on both our bodies and our brains in the longer turn.

I firmly believe some of the most beautiful questions about our experience at work is yet to be asked and that we need a critical mass to start exercising optimism and start BEing different at work. I believe when we do, some of those conversations, experiences will serve as a catalyst to many of our inner experiences.

Success has nothing to do with our roles inside of a company or the make up of our cars; success is about our ability to live with intention, in line with our deepest values. 

Happiness is not an end, it is a means. It is also not an individual choice, it is an interconnected one. 

If you have a few minutes of reflection this week, please do ask yourself:

  • Could it be that we are truly taught all the wrong things about success and happiness?
  • Could it be that the way we bring these powerful concepts into our work lives is putting us in a loop hole?
  • If we were going to invest in our best selves, where would be put our energy, thoughts, and hearts?

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  • 18 June 2018
Whirling Chief

Leadership & Team Development

Nº 186

How We Damage Our Workforce’s Path to Finding Meaning Everyday


On Monday, we introduced the concept of ‘meaning at work’ with a wonderfully engaging video from Emily Esfahani Smith, the author of the book ‘Power of Meaning’.

Today, we want to share with you some of our analysis around how majority of us in leadership roles – consciously and unconsciously damage our workforce’s path to finding meaning at work everyday.

If you walk into any traditional organization small or large scale and ask “What’s the number one purpose of business?”; you are most likely to hear “It is to make profit.” Whether that’s the number one purpose of business or not is certainly one argument; but the one we are about to make today is more related to how business drives profit then after.

Though many senior executives would not question the correlation between a business’ mission and the need to drive profits, many people leaders routinely undermine the inner work lives of their workforce by overlooking the correlation between one’s need to find meaning and one’s ability to sustain creativity, productivity and commitment at work. Majority of our people leaders literally act in denial of the constant flow of thoughts, emotions, behaviors that constitute our life experiences day to day.

According to one study, beyond affecting the well-being of our employees, our inner work lives affect the bottom line of all organizations. We experience more inspiration, higher sense of safety and joy when we are able to have more positive inner lives at work.

Recognize finding meaning at work is different than the work (itself) being meaningful to us. Of course, we all want meaningful job definitions; but meaning at work is slightly more than that. Meaning at work also includes things like how we experience the environment, whether we can bring our whole selves forward, whether we can be authentic in our relationships, whether we can work in ways that’s natural to us, and more…

In our recent analysis, we found a variety of behaviors demonstrated by today’s leaders preventing first themselves and after, those around them from enriching inner life experiences day to day.

Unclarity of purpose.

This is probably the most obvious of all our fallings short. Majority of today’s corporate ‘leaders’ – us – live our lives not knowing what we stand for. We work eight to twelve hour jobs in search of prestige, status and financial freedom – to have a house large enough, a car fast enough, a purse big enough, diamonds shiny enough, for example; yet, at the end of day, when we reach that prestige, status, and freedom, we feel unfulfilled. This is in part due to the fact that majority of us have a view of ‘success’ developed through other people’s reflections. We ‘think’ we want certain things – like a title or a reward – but deep inside, those things are not what makes us ‘happy’ or ‘fulfilled’.

And when we finally find our true calling or develop a mission to live by, it seems we fall short of exercising courage to live up to our very own values on a day to day basis. One way or another, we end up locking ourselves inside our heads, not being able to see beyond traditional measures, eventually ignoring the connection required to our hearts, to our bodies for creation of holistic experiences.

Do you have any sense what this sort of unintentional living does to us individually or to others around us?

It steals the opportunity of breath, our spiritual fulfillment away. It disconnects us from our true sense of ‘being’ (live). It also strips our sense of security because when no one exercises courage to live by their true values, we find the ground to be not transparent and inconsistent underneath our feet. People leaders, who are unclear on their WHY and unable to demonstrate their values through their actions not only become perceived as ‘uninspiring’; when they become clear on their passion and struggle to show the will to exercise courage, they start being viewed as a potential ‘threat.’

Work without purpose is often seen as hard labor, where work with purpose is referred to as joy.

When we know why we do something and what we do matters to others and/or how it is connected to something bigger (what the organization does, for example), it gives meaning to our effort.

Connection to purpose provides inner meaning; jobs with a purpose encourage commitment; and purposeful leaders encourage safety.

Not building a sense of belonging. 

We all know creating a positive corporate culture is not easy, yet it is essential for all companies that want to excel. Again, we find in our research majority of today’s people leaders don’t see building a sense of belonging as their sole responsibility; therefore, they don’t assume full accountability in culture building and/or for making an employee experience harmony. They think they are inside an organization to drive results, which they are – however, very few consider how they are going to drive results and to what cause…

Imagine for a second, having to send our children to a school, where they are expected to grow a sense of belonging without the support of anyone; and teachers seeing it their responsibility to only make our children learn math. How would we feel about that?

Belonging is an active endeavor, not a passive one. It requires work enduring over time and yes, it is tied to shared values.

In our review of multiple studies, we find there are three critical parts to building a sense of belonging:

1. Story telling, which is a way to create a narrative around what our organizations are trying to do. By defining and communicating clearly the company’s purpose, its beneficiaries, stakeholders and how one person is critical in bringing that overarching value forward, it can really help us develop an emotional connection.

2. Validation, which ensures people leaders are able to see and accept each and every employee for who they are, their given gifts and for their unique contributions. Globoforce recently released its 2017 WorkHuman Research Institute (WHRI) survey report, finding that the majority (66%) of respondents reported they are the same person at work as they are at home. The report surveyed 2,700 full-time U.S. employees with the goal of finding out what really motivates people at work. It turns out, employees want to bring more life to work.

3. Rewarding, which publicizes and reinforces people’s contributions while further building on story telling (by shedding light onto the encouraged behaviors.)

Being able to develop a sense of belonging encourages creativity and performance and more importantly, it drives our physical and psychological well-being.


Unauthentic connections.

We used to think of workplace as a place to get the job done and not to socialize. As our lives get more and more integrated, that’s no longer the case. Further, when people are united in mission, they often find affinity with one another. Unfortunately, it seems through the data that majority of today’s people leaders are either ‘faking’ their connections or genuinely struggling with the level of emotional insight necessary to form the authentic connections.

Either way, do you know what happens in absence of authentic relationships?

We feel without a choice, isolated and lonely.

And do you know what happens when we remain in those states for prolonged periods of time?

We become physically and emotionally exhausted. We become sad, anxious and sometimes, depressed.

Authentic connections allow us to freely ‘be ourselves’: to have a voice, to express disagreement, to show what we really care about, and know we will still keep a bond despite all the differences. It gives us a ‘home’ to return to.

Dr. Susan David of the book Emotional Agility talks about this in part as structural support, which is “the ability to ask someone to cover for you when you’re in a bind,” and in part as emotional support, which is having someone who can talk you through stress, change, or anxiety.

Our ability to build authentic connections motivates inclusion and trust inside our organizations.


Inability to care, nurture and grow in the right way.

If we were to think of our workforce as a place of garden, how would we prescribe to care and nurture for it? Or, when we close our eyes and imagine our physical, mental, and emotional health in terms of a garden, what do we find it look like? And if it is not as green, colorful and lush as we want it to be, how would we exercise different care?

In today’s busyness of life, we find less and less ample time to slow down, to genuinely care for and to nurture our employees. In a recent Coming of Age Digitally report by MIT Sloan and Deloitte, it is reported corporate learning still far behind; 90% of respondents say need to update skills yearly, yet, only 34% satisfied with organizational support.

There is an aspect to this about upgrading our mindsets (to growth mindset) and our learning & development strategies; but according to our finding, there is yet another aspect, which is around leaders exercising wisdom and compassion.

Wisdom is more closely tied to building acceptance around our need for diversity and compassion around self-care and care of others.  It is important we differentiate the fact that we are not required to inject care, nurture or growth, we are rather responsible to genuinely consider which seeds develop and blossom naturally and which could use more attention. Once we discover those needing more focus, we can then direct our thoughts, energy and support to making these seeds burst into beautiful blooms.

Caring, nurturing and growth is about helping someone discover or re-discover unique gifts available to them so they can progress in their evolutionary journeys.

While wisdom motivates inclusion; compassion motivates fairness and equity inside organizations.

For us to transform our work experiences, we have to allow ourselves to be transformed as individual leaders. And for us to be transformed as individual leaders, we have to allow for the incompleteness and for the complexity of (human) beings and start to understand what we’re trapped inside of and how we can contribute to our experiences differently.

And we firmly believe we can… We can!

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  • 6 June 2018
Whirling Chief

Organizational Development, Video

Nº 185

Meaning at Work


In the United States alone, we spend on average 35-40 hours working every week. That’s some 80,000 hours during a given career—more time we will end up spending with our families?!!

Beyond providing as a source of income, what does work give us?

Naturally, we all have different sources of fulfillment in life and certainly different environments provide different experiences for us; but what does it mean for us to find fulfillment at work?

Meaning at work is a real concept. Studies across a number of institutions (from Berkeley to MIT) show employees will provide increased motivation, loyalty, creativity and productivity to organizations that help them find meaning at work.

Recognize by ‘meaning at work’ we are referring to a person’s experience of something meaningful (of value) that work provides. This is not the same as ‘meaningful work‘, which we often use to refer to the experience a set of tasks provide inside a given ‘job’.

Our work experiences can be meaningful; but we first need to get clear on the definition of ‘meaning’ and then, understand the distractors.

Today, on a wonderful definition by long term researcher of ‘meaning’, Emily Esfahani Smith, who graciously shares the four pillars of meaning.


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  • 4 June 2018
Whirling Chief

Leadership & Team Development

Nº 184

Leadership 101: Path to Self-authentication


As we start to analyze findings of our collaborative research with Stanford University’s CCARE, what we are seeing very clearly is enduring leaders truly emerge from their whole selves.

Those leaders who drive vision, inspire and enable people of all diversities over long periods of time engage in constant soul-searching and are willing to test their uniqueness through their life experiences with a growing hunger to become a better version of themselves.

Over the course of last week, through our social media accounts, we have been sharing tips around how to grow authenticity; today, we share the complete list. Kindly consider reading and reflecting when you have mental capacity to connect to the material and please consider sharing with others if you want the material valuable.

Tip 1: Reframe your life story. 

Across all our analysis, we found enduring leaders taking charge, creating a choice in moments to develop self-awareness through their journeys. 

Our life stories not only provide context for our experiences, our consciousness actually begins when our brains gain power over our personal narratives. In simpler terms, our brains love stories because a) stories help us hold our attention, b) they help us develop a sense of ‘being’. It is important we recognize the facts matter less than the narrative we build around it. This is not to delude our selves or others, it is to find transformative effects of our lived experiences (good and bad) as ways to discover self-identity through meaning-making.

Tip 2: Understand who you are.

We all talk about self-awareness and yet, we are so easily colored by our desire to establish ourselves and “impress”, we often (consciously and unconsciously) hold back our unique thoughts, emotions, actions and desires. 

Knowing our authentic selves require for us to (1) connect to our core purpose, (2) exercise courage to be who we are and (3) find ways to gather honest feedback in support of our journey… Only then, we are able to connect to our true values and develop sustainable operating principles; our authenticity is actually developed through stress-testing. Our research confirms we are most authentic when we can ensure alignment in the way we think, say, feel, act, and consistently. 

Tip 3:  Aim to live with intention.

This is both about knowing and acting alignment with our values and about balancing our intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Although majority of us would have a hard time to admit this we tend to build our definition of ‘success’ around others’ expectations. 🙄 It is nothing to be ashamed of… We enjoy the recognition of titles, money, prestige; we all do! The external validation feeds one of our primary motivations: self-interest. Yet, we need to remember we have other motivations, too! Our need for connection and our need for living meaningful lives are equally important.

The enduring leaders we have studied managed to find balance between their intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and create integrated life experiences. This takes enormous disciple – especially around staying connected (grounded); yet, it is possible…

If we want to evolve our ‘being’ as leaders of 21st century, we have to move away from fractions and consciously work towards unity. This requires us to grow self-compassion, the ability to observe ourselves without judgment and make conscious choices to fulfill our highest potential one decision at a time, every time…

Tip #4: Build a reliable, trusting support system. 

In our study (and in compatible studies), we found enduring leaders grow their capacity through others.

These leaders have colleagues, family members, friends, mentors, coaches to rely on for hard facts, for challenging their opinions, for providing honest feedback and to step in (to cover) when necessary. In return, they empower their “people” to step up and lead. The two-way nature of the relationship makes it stronger and lasting. Pick your allies carefully, allow yourself to show your ‘ugly’ and ‘incomplete’ sides, build intimacy and do go the extra mile for those who are there for you…

Tip #5: Remain open to growth and learning.

Enduring leaders differ from competent and inspiring leaders in that they understand and connect to what they are good at, what they are not and how they can work with others to build on their development areas.

They are willing to learn and look for people and opportunities who can play a mirror role in helping them reflect on how they show up and how to do. Further, they work to create environments, where people can compliment one another’s strengths and offset each other’s weaknesses.

None of us can grow authenticity by imitating someone else. Over the years, our workforce has built an enormous amount of mistrust with today’s leaders. It is evident we need a new kind of leadership (in definition and in attributes) to be relevant and to bring value in 21st century.

And THAT starts by self-authentication!

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  • 30 May 2018
Whirling Chief

Leadership & Team Development

Nº 183

Great Leadership… a Path to Authenticity…


We have been thinking, talking, writing about leadership for centuries now. Collectively, there must have been over a 1000 studies conducted to determine the characteristics, competencies or ‘special gifts’ of enduring leaders over the years. Thank goodness, we have not singled this down to a one ‘perfect’ formula (just like parenthood) because I bet you we would all try to copy/ paste it into our realities, a recipe for a potential of disastrous experiences in our lives.

Our research findings with Stanford University’s CCARE on leadership only concur what we have been gathering from our readings and discussions over the years: Great leadership is about authenticity!

Before we go into how one can develop authenticity though, I really want to dig into the concept of ‘greatness’ because what we find in our study is that people often associate appreciation, recognition and success with admiration from others. Let me provide an example… If a friend uses a vacuum cleaner, for example, and tells us “it is great!”, we feel compelled to buy it, try it and use it. Even in cases where our experience may be contradictory, we often doubt ourselves versus the observation shared by our friend(s) and often talk ourselves into keeping the tool despite the value our true selves find in it.

Not only it seems we need a revised definition of success in our societies, we believe it is time for us to recognize ‘greatness’ in its context of leadership, which is about exploring our very own potential. We can NOT progress in our holistic ‘being’ if we are imitating someone else’s journey and/or paying lip service to what we read in the books. We can not become a better version of ourselves if we don’t live what we cognitively understand in our hearts. ‘Greatness’ is first and foremost about our very own journey.

The very first step in the journey is to come into terms with our ‘imperfection’ as human beings and grow a commitment to focus on our ability to learn over time. Steve Jobs was ‘great’ in his customer-orientation, which led him to explore very unique, simplistic, innovative design features; however, he was not all that ‘great’ in his people-orientation. Jack Welch was ‘great’ in his strategic-orientation, which led him to guide strategy execution very well; however, he was not all that ‘great’ in his emotional-orientation. The fact of the matter is we all have our own exploration to do and that doesn’t take away from us, our current or potential (to) ‘greatness’.

Human nature is not fixed and people are only willing to connect with us trustingly when we can share genuinely and authentically about who we are. The shared commitment to learn and grow together is what brings us closer to one another. This is also the reason why so many people in our workplaces have grown a deep sense of distrust with their leaders. It is because those who of us feeling ‘privileged’ in our roles find ourselves develop a sense of entitlement to our status (presence) and lose our sense of genuine wonder.

We need a new kind of business leadership in the 21st century. 

What we have been seeing in our research findings (and it is complimentary to some other recent leadership studies), enduring leaders truly emerge from their whole selves. They not only engage in constant soul-searching, they are willing to test their uniqueness through their life experiences with a growing hunger to become a better version of themselves. We could say – Consciously or unconsciously, they are leveraging their authenticity to grow competence that’d make them more effective in their multiplicities.

Throughout this week on our LinkedIn and Twitter pages, we will share one tip every day as to how we can all grow more authenticity as leaders of our time, please do follow us and share your own experiences and learning!


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  • 21 May 2018