Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart…about inspiration–of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes…is not a formula or a program, it is a human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others. It is an attitude, not a routine. (Lance Secretan)
Many years ago, I was able to spend two days with Lance Secretan, a truly amazing human being and leadership scholar (www.secretan.com). The company I worked for at the time was a big believer in leadership development as a critical component of sustaining long-term greatness. Our CEO believed that leadership was a skill similar to that of golf or tennis, and that to be a great leader, one needed to invest significant time in continuously improving leadership skills through training. Lance was one of a number of leadership “gurus” I was fortunate to meet during my own leadership training while with this organization, and I found the messages contained in his “Higher Ground Leadership” experience truly inspirational. One of the biggest takeaways was that while great leadership of the past was built around philosophies of “winning at all costs” and using power and fear to drive results, successful leaders of the 21st century would be leading from the heart versus the fist, and they would be working to create “win-win” outcomes. This new-age leadership relied on leaders inspiring their workers to connect with their own inner values in helping achieve organizational greatness.
There is no doubt this leadership training shaped my career, leaving a lasting impression. While each of my “classmates” were on their own personal leadership journey, we were guided to reflect and connect with our “authentic self”, as well as one another. Throughout the experience, Secretan encouraged all of us to honor the part of our authentic selves that would be truly inspirational to others, instead of creating elaborate motivational “schemes” to convince others to do things they weren’t meant to do. Secretan teaches his leaders-in-training to recognize the value of connecting with the “authentic selves” of those we lead, and how inspirational that connection can be to both parties. His short video below outlines the difference between motivation and inspiration:
Secretan’s teachings are based on the core principle of connecting the soul with what was formerly known of as work–the two becoming intertwined in a way that redefines “work-life” balance, and is truly fulfilling. He espouses that even the environment we work in should reflect and honor the creative spaces of the soul. Think of the healing that could occur not only in our healthcare workforce, but in our patients, if we created healthcare environments that were truly places that nurtured the soul? Whether you are a student or have been involved in healthcare for longer than you care to admit, reclaiming your values and identifying your strengths, will allow you to solidify a foundation for your own leadership style today–regardless of position.
In a recent post, Leadership and Love, I talked about what I believe the best leaders in healthcare do to inspire those around them. When the foundation of any relationship is built upon love and mutual respect good things happen. I also believe that good leaders surround themselves with smart, passionate people and then get out of their way–checking in to inspire or be inspired, and to make sure each individual has what they need to further their goals and the goals of the team. Each of us wants to be valued, our contributions to a higher purpose given room to grow, and the tools to move our ideas forward available. When leaders create work environments that clear a path for all to honor their own passion and talent, an amazing transformation has the chance to take place. The joy and meaning at work that Lucian Leape often speaks of now has an opportunity to breathe new life into organizations.
What resonates with you from this post? Why? What have you observed in good leaders around you? Share your thoughts as we continue a series on leadership!
In closing, I share another quote from Lance Secretan:
“If there is one thing a leader can do to connect with followers at a human, or better still a spiritual level, it is to become engaged with them fully, to share experiences and emotions, and to set aside the processes of leadership we have learned by rote.”