The Secret Strength of the Best Leaders (Hint: It’s Not Above Driving More Performance)
Guess what's not at the top of most professional agendas?
When colleagues or clients ask me why I wrote a book about self-awareness in love instead of about leadership development (my chosen profession), my “old brain” instant reaction is to cringe internally and defend myself externally.
Instead, in a conscious response, I explain that I wrote it in order to raise more awareness of matters of the heart.
Why? Because somehow, even though organizations talk a great deal about life-work balance or other related issues, many employees feel exposed if they reveal that their personal lives are maybe the most important thing to them, period.
Often, in leadership speeches or other avenues, we tout that work enhances personal life and that personal life enhances work. Rarely does the whole person — and what drives every individual in some way, shape or form — come into focus in the workplace.
Leaders who say of their staffs’ personal happiness, “That’s not my business!” are missing out on a critical factor for their bottom lines — as well as the full engagement of their valuable workforces.
Here are a few fundamental insights that high-performing leaders or anyone can leverage.
1.) Leaders who know who and what they care about in their own lives — and who bring that certainty to their day-to-day actions — have more capacity to succeed in their soft skills and in their analytical decision making.
2.) Leaders who appreciate differences in people can inspire others. Some people use their personal relationships to inspire them at work. Others seek relationships that will comfort them after work. Still others don’t want to mix the two at all. Leaders appreciate these differences and can help guide others toward their own forms of fulfillment.
3.) Leaders know that strong personal partnerships offer a competitive advantage to the next generation’s thought leaders. Investing in training and tools to help others succeed is guaranteed to improve an organization’s performance and the engagement of its workers. We send elite executives to conferences to learn about leadership, best practices — even resilience. Organizations that value the whole person will retain talent and attract talent.
So, to answer those people who asked me why I wrote about self-awareness in love, my answer is that my intention is to inspire more love — especially in leaders who courageously want more of it.
Krystal White, PhD, is the author of “The Letter Code: Deciphering Why You Love the Way You Love.” She is a leadership psychologist with more than 15 years of experience working with individuals, organizations, and communities. She holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, is a board-certified child and adolescent psychologist, and has completed a medical fellowship at Madigan Army Medical Center in developmental pediatric psychology. She also holds a master’s degree in Christian leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary and a master’s degree in mind, brain, and education from Harvard University.