Becoming Fully Human – The Path of The Connected Leader

Last Updated: February 16, 2021

Connection is a strategy rooted in our neurological wiring. 

You and I are wired to connect, and problems arise when we don’t. When we leapfrog over this neurological need, it has the same impact as if we were depriving ourselves of food and water; the adulting version of Lord of the Flies happens in workplaces, on both sides of the aisle, and everywhere people are disconnected from themselves. Instead of connecting, we blame and scapegoat, become rigid and gaslight, respond from our wounds instead of our hope, confuse boundaries with rejection and stony silences.

As a result of the global pandemic  and what we have learned (the moment), many leaders realize we do not need another leadership paradigm (the movement). Instead, we need to embrace the connection era with grit and grace. While many organizations are disengaged and battle weary, connected leaders give their people the powerful fuel of connection. They are focused on reenergizing, recalibrating, and reconnecting with their people. They realize that the power of this moment is moving them to ask questions like: “who are we now?”;  “what have we learned?”; “how can we morph our grief into hope?”; and “how can we show up and lead with our truest selves?”.

As I work with these connected leaders, they are leading with more hope and less despair, more being and less doing, more growing and less MBA-ing. They emphasize results alongside emotional wholeness. They create courageous connections, holy groundings, and a sabbath kind of purpose while thriving in the marketplace. Make no mistake –  profitability, operational excellence, and performance matter. Work isn’t summer camp.

However, leaders who aren’t the religious type are increasingly seeing their role incorporate a pastoral approach. Words like empathy, curiosity, and mindfulness populate my conversations with leaders as often as strategy, innovation, and execution.

If you are like many leaders, you get it and it is uncomfortable. You want better outcomes and are reluctant to buy into the whole emotional-spiritual approach. I understand.

So try this: Connection is rooted in self-discovery. We help leaders awaken to their truest self. That’s it. When they do, they find a more awakened emotional and spiritual side to themselves. And without prompting or forcing, an awakened and self-connected leader naturally and organically builds bridges to others.

As leaders wake up, they lead from their strengths in healthier ways and are then gifted with more trust and loyalty. They are less prone to act out their shadow sides, which leave people feeling manipulated, distrusting, and disempowered.

One senior executive said this: “We have to start with ourselves. Our fears. Our wounds and strengths. What we are doing about this connection stuff feels like a revolution. This is more than a leadership philosophy. It is a life philosophy.”

As leaders embrace the truth about themselves they listen more and express empathy. They create a psychologically safe workplace that encourages trust and risk-taking. They manifest empowerment instead of just talking about it. One executive team that undertook this commitment experienced a 20-point jump in engagement within a six-month period. Another organization transformed its culture and became a major acquisition target because of its “secret sauce.”

There is a groundswell of leaders waking-up to the connection era. You can find them in Atlanta, London, Montana, and around the world. They run public companies, family-owned businesses, and entrepreneurial enterprises; they represent all races, genders, and industries.

What unites them are better outcomes for all, but what grounds them is the courage to do the inner work of becoming more self-aware and connected to their best selves. This is foundational, as we can never find outside solutions to inside problems.

When leaders commit to connection, they become the corporate version of the Velveteen Rabbit: more real and inspiring because they lead with their true self. That “realness” becomes the rising water that lifts all boats. As leaders awaken to their truest self, they give permission to others to do the same. The spark of Connection in them fuels their people, culture, purpose, and all the things that market leaders need to be meaningful and influential.

A CEO client said it best ““I am finding the courage to fight my inner Goliaths that keep me focused on the things that wear me down as a leader and human. I am becoming my best.”

Join us as we travel from moment to movement … we’re saving you a seat.

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