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Wholehearted Leadership

leadership coaching Jul 25, 2022

"Leadership is not about titles or the corner office. It`s about the willingness to step up, put yourself out there, and lean into courage. The world is desperate for brave leaders. It´s time for all of us to step up" - Brené Brown 

The quote is from the book Dare to lead written by Brené Brown. I highly recommend it if you haven`t read it. The other day I read the article "My Leadership Point of View" by Ken Blanchard. It is about our values, what has influenced us and shaped us and our expectations towards ourselves and others. It is about knowing your core. I believe that we will not have the willingness to step up and put ourselves out there, lean into courage unless we do our inner work as leaders. This is what I mean by wholehearted leadership. 

I recently attended a meeting where a leader was departing from an organization, a leader that has been mentioned to me as one that inspires. He inspired me by his way of being and it was clear that he has inspired a whole organization, because what happened in that meeting with hundreds of participants was that one after the other, with tears in their eyes shared that this leader had taught them to bring their emotions to work, to bring their whole true self to work and that we are whole human beings and we are allowed to just be fully who we are. 

I was amazed by the openness and connection that was there, and also in admiration to the leader sharing his feelings while saying his final words to the organization before he left. Wow that was really wholehearted. He dared to step up, put himself out there, lean into his courage and stand for what he believed to be right, and while doing so, he inspired a whole organization to do the same. 

I have rarely seen these kind of leaders in any of the organizations I have worked in and I have now more than 20 years of experience in the Tech industry. When I coach leaders, this is what they want. They want the openness, the real connections, the confidence, the courage. But there is something holding them back. 

I had a conversation with that leader, and he shared with me the amount of inner work he had done, with his emotions, how he had worked to develop himself, and his admiration to people doing the same. I truly believe that it starts with our willingness to open up first and foremost to ourselves, raising our own awareness of our core values, our strengths, our weakness. When we are capable of leading ourselves from within, we become leaders to others. This is where the wholeheartedness lies. 

It is all about continuous learning, learning through co-creation, staying aligned with our own and our team values, and having courage and vulnerability. All this leads to connection, openness and inspiration. 

Wholeheartedness is like peeling the onion, layer by layer we become more aware of our values, layer by layer we learn and layer by layer we develop our courage, and every time we do so, we increase our connection to others, we become more open and we inspire people around us because we have integrity, we involve others and dare to be vulnerable. 

I have learned that most of us have no idea what our mission or core values are. In many of the coaching conversations I have, I find that we are not that good at celebrating our successes and our strengths. We are too busy, and there is not much time to think, and if we succeed we just keep going. 

I have learned that people feel stressed, unfocused and lack balance in their life. Lack of clarity on what inspires and motives contribute to stress and lack of focus. 

I believe that opening up to wholeheartedness is one of the most important things we can do if we want to develop our leadership, regardless of position. From my perspective it starts from within, from inner connectedness, self-reflection and self-awareness. And the question we need to ask ourselves is; Who do I want to be, and how do I want to show up? 

I have developed a model that ties this together and I call it the Wholehearted Leader model; 


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