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The Benefits of Embracing Holistic Leadership and Work/Life

More and more organizations are shifting from a bureaucratic method of leading to a holistic human-centered approach to leadership, acknowledging the importance of essential skills like emotional intelligence.

Allowing employees to express themselves respectfully and explain why something is not working for them or providing alternatives for how a project can be done differently gives way to conversation and group input for solutions. Equally, providing an environment where individuals feel comfortable enough with their colleagues and leaders to share when they have a bad day or have received some upsetting news helps foster connection and humility. It allows others an opportunity to empathize and demonstrate compassion.

Getting things out in the open squashes the undercurrent of dissatisfaction and creates an overall healthier work environment. When workers are met with understanding and compassion, it is considerably easier for everyone to give their best effort.

I once led a team in which the members were allowed to express what they felt—later to be discovered our superpower. Outsiders who attended our meetings would comment on how strong and connected our group was compared to other team meetings they had attended. So, we began to ask ourselves, “what makes us different from other teams?”

Here’s what we discovered:

When someone had a challenge, we listened and gave compassionate space for them to express it.

Making a safe space for expression showed understanding and gave an example for others to implement.

Three ways to foster a connected and collaborative team.

  • Allow each member to express their thoughts in meetings—creates a feeling of worthiness.

  • Show authentic compassion when members share —creates a feeling of being heard.

  • Collaborate solutions when challenges appear—creates a feeling of community.

We were flexible with members’ needs.

Flexibility is not a nice-to-have but a requirement for businesses interested in staying competitive and accommodating their employees’ needs. Most of us are still trying to recover from emotional and environmental ‘whiplash’ created by an abrupt shift to remote work and learning due to COVID—barking dogs, internet crashes due to overloaded servers, trying to teach a young child to sit still in front of a screen for classes, while also working a 9-5 in the same environment.

Before the pandemic, employees were already seeking more flexibility at work, splitting time between office days and working from home to allow families to handle unexpected commitments or reduce commute time. Flexibility is paramount to job satisfaction, according to

We periodically helped cover another’s role and responsibilities for our team, which had an incredible value. We learned compassion for each job—softening conversations and expectations.

Four benefits of being flexible:

  • Creates more satisfaction at work—twenty-six percent of American workers are eager to change jobs.

  • Compassion is learned—actively listening conveys compassion.

  • Creates overall group strength—generating resilience.

  • Cultivates creativity—inspiring employees to work together

We encourage and reward creativity.

Creativity gives us novel ways of solving problems. When we are encouraged to think “outside the box,” solutions feel like celebrations, which is uplifting! Creativity also facilitates innovation. Innovation is how businesses stay ahead and serve their customers in unique processes. Being creative gives the brain new neuropathways that help solve complex problems and forecast and avoid future challenges.

Our group had leadership meetings regularly. These smaller meetings created a more intimate environment for collaboration and creativity. Watching these qualities filter to the team at large was a celebration in motion. When something outside the norm occurred for the entire group, we would strategize how to work with that person or exception. We had an open conversation and actively listened to each idea, choosing the one that best addressed the situation. It conveyed that everyone was heard and considered included.

Ideas to foster creativity in your team or organization:

  • Encourage individuality

  • Create a stimulating environment with proper lighting, temperature, colors, textures, etc.

  • Act on good ideas that are shared

  • Hire diverse talent

  • Allow brainstorming sessions

It is a new era of business we have embarked upon. Utilizing these holistic directions, business becomes more personable and has more significant potential for truly healthy growth. Continuing to adopt flexibility, creativity, safe expression, active listening, and openness to new ideas, the business will adapt to the changes and challenges with more grace and a happier workforce.

Businesses that embrace new ideas:

  • Navigate changes smoother (Intuit’s Mission Hope)

  • It makes room for collaboration (Chobani Less Sugar Greek Yogurt Launch)

  • Support innovation (J&J TEDxJNJ or Rockwell Automation)

  • Create more effective processes (Compass Real Estate Tech Platform)

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