Remember when we could leave our personal lives at home, and leave work at the office? Simpler times, am I right…
Then came technology, laptops, phones, and watches that give you meeting reminders and email notifications and it became impossible to separate professional you from the other parts of your life. Back then, work had no interest in our lives outside of our working hours - we had two lives and they never crossed each other.
Now, everything is all mushed together and we can’t clearly define the two worlds. For leaders, the reality of balancing all this is a challenge. How do you lead multi-dimensional individuals with lives that run alongside their work?
In this episode, I talk about how leaders can lead holistically, making it a priority to support the whole person.
Work used to be a one-way street, it got to come into our personal lives when it needed us, but we were still expected to leave our personal lives at the door. - Jen Thornton
[00:00:00] On this week's episode of Let's Fix Leadership, we're going to have a hot take conversation. Welcome back, friends. This is your place for cutting edge tools, exercises, best practices, and modern leadership strategies. Because when the world is changing, it's time to bring our leadership styles along for the ride.
[00:00:20] Whether you're a company leader, a corporate visionary, an entrepreneur, this show gives you new insights into the neuroscience and the language of leadership, plus practical steps and tips to lead your teams in a powerful way. It'll also help you keep your people happy and engaged all while achieving your biggest goals.
[00:00:39] I'm your host, Jen Thornton. I'm a talent strategist, a brain based executive coach, speaker, and the founder of 304 Coaching. Now let's fix leadership. Recently, I had this conversation with someone I was coaching, and they said to me, do you actually tell executives these things? And it made me laugh because yes, I do actually have these conversations.
[00:01:03] And it's one of the many benefits of having an external coach. I get to provide feedback to executives that most employees can't give. And during this coaching session, what we were discussing was how to balance it all. And I think it's something that all of us can relate to, but here's the reality of balancing it all.
[00:01:24] You know, remember back when we were told to leave it at the door when we got to work? Work had really no interest in our lives outside of our working hours. And well, back then, we also got to leave work at the door when we went home. It was like we had these two lives that didn't cross each other. But then came technology.
[00:01:46] We got laptops, we got cell phones, and work was coming into our homes. Now this wasn't a bad thing for our employer because it was really a one way street. They got to come into our personal lives when they needed us.
[00:02:00] But we were still expected to leave our personal life at the door. And this, by the way, was when my client said, do you actually tell executives these things?
[00:02:09] So that's where the hot take starts. But then came COVID. And it just all got mushed up together. There was no leaving anything at the door anymore. Our work and home lives were just a mixed up mess. And pulling them apart is really likely not an option for most of us in today's world. So how has this changed how we lead our teams?
[00:02:34] Well, we have to start leading the whole person. And let's face it, we should have always been doing this, but the world is now forcing our hands to do the right thing. So what does it mean? Leading the whole person. Leading the whole person means recognizing that employees are not just their job titles and responsibilities.
[00:02:57] Each individual brings a unique blend of emotions, experiences, skills, and aspirations to the workplace. Acknowledging these dimensions and treating employees as complete humans, it's really the cornerstone of holistic leadership. This approach not only Emphasizes employee satisfaction, but also boost engagement, creativity and overall performance.
[00:03:22] So today I want to share some ideas with you on how to lead the whole person. And first, we have to cultivate authentic connections. Holistic leaders prioritize building authentic connections with their team members. They take the time to understand their employees' interests and strengths and challenges.
[00:03:42] They have regular one on one interactions and open conversations. These conversations help leaders gain insight into their team members' lives beyond work. This, in turn, allows leaders to offer support that extends beyond professional matters, really fostering a sense of trust and belonging. And here's another hot take.
[00:04:05] You can have a professional relationship with someone while also supporting them as a whole person. Let's take a quick break from the conversation. Does your company need to prepare those upcoming leaders to take the reins? To learn more about our Leadership Academies and our coaching, and to see if your company is a good fit for our transformation programs.
[00:04:34] The other thing to think about is how you can provide flexibility, and in the pursuit of work life balance, holistic leaders recognize the interplay between work and personal lives. Flexibility in work hours, remote work options, and supportive policies demonstrate a commitment to employees overall well being.
[00:04:54] If someone wants to have an extended lunch to volunteer at their children's school, then offer them the ability to come in early that morning. And I get it. It may not be possible for 100% of flexibility for everyone 100% of the time, but I do think in general, we could be more creative and still get the work done.
[00:05:15] We also have to provide opportunities for growth. Leaders who focus on the whole person are invested in their employees' growth and development. This involves not only providing opportunities for skill enhancement within their roles, but also opportunities in supporting pursuits beyond the immediate job description.
[00:05:37] Offering mentorship, training, and resources for personal development showcases a commitment to the long term success of the employee, both within and outside the organization, within their whole life. Also, foster a culture of well being. Holistic leadership places a high value on an employee's well being.
[00:06:00] Leaders should actually promote physical, mental, and emotional health. When employees feel supported in their well being journey, they are more likely to be engaged, productive, and resilient in the face of challenges. One of the easiest ways of promoting a culture of well being is to live your life as a leader who focuses on your whole self.
[00:06:21] Prioritize what's important to you and be authentic when speaking about it and really talk about how you promote your own mental and physical health because this signals to others that they can do the same. We also want to recognize and celebrate diversity. Acknowledging the diverse experiences and backgrounds within the workplace is crucial for leading the whole person.
[00:06:45] Inclusive leaders create an environment where employees feel value and respect it for their individuality. This can lead to an increase in creativity and innovation as employees from various backgrounds can bring their unique perspectives to the table. And as always, lead by example. Being an organization that leads the whole person starts at the top.
[00:07:08] Top leaders must model behavior they wish to see in their teams. By demonstrating their vulnerability, their work life balance, and a commitment to their personal growth, leaders inspire their employees to follow suit. Leading by example helps create a culture where well being of the whole person is a priority.
[00:07:29] And we just have to face it, life just looks different today. We don't have two worlds that we leave at the door when we enter the other world. Technology has changed the way we live and work, and as leaders, we have to change the way we lead. Leading ourselves as a whole person and leading our teams as whole people is not only good for business, it is the right thing to do is the right thing to do for ourselves.
[00:07:55] It's the right thing to do for our families, and it's the right thing to do for our communities and leading the whole person helps us all fix leadership.
[00:08:07] Thanks for listening to Let's Fix Leadership. By hanging out with me today, you're already on your path. If you're looking to learn more and to see if your company is a good fit for our coaching and leadership education, then hey, visit 304 coaching. com. If you got value out of this podcast, share it with a friend.
[00:08:24] And it would mean the world to me if you would leave a thoughtful review and a rating on iTunes. Thanks again for listening. And I appreciate your work in fixing leadership.