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The Role of Imperfection in Heart-Centered Leadership (feat. Deb Crowe)

Feb 14, 2023

We’re connected worldwide. At the same time, we’re more disconnected than ever.


COVID-19 showed us it’s possible to work and live in a borderless society. But in a hybrid or remote work environment, how can we reconnect with our teams and colleagues in a meaningful way?


Joining me today on The Enlightened Executive podcast is Deb Crowe, a heart-centered leader who thrives on helping people become successful and fulfilled.


Deb is an executive and business coach with 32+ years of global experience with top Fortune 500 companies in Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia.


In this episode, Deb shares her definition and 20 qualities of heart-centered leadership, along with 3 words you should consider removing from your vocabulary so you can have more authentic and deeper conversations.



What is heart-centered leadership?



As Inc. Magazine describes, “it lies in your ability to stop, go inward, and reflect on the course of action that you know is the right one rather than succumbing to external pressures and circumstances…a form of leadership driven by the principles of authenticity and integrity rather than the pursuit of profit at any and all cost.”


Crowe defines it as honoring your connection with people (including with yourself) and leading from the heart. 


A few behaviors that exemplify honoring your connection with people include:


  • Truly listening to what is being said, and also what is not being said based on body language, tone, emotion, etc.


  • Listening so you can understand, not necessarily so you can respond. Sometimes there needs to be no response!


  • Showing up from your heart with authenticity, not from your seniority or role, without an expectation of reciprocity


The 20 Qualities of Heart-Centered Leaders



Becoming a truly heart-centered leader requires deliberate intention and modeling behavior. Whether you’re an experienced executive or just starting out with your leadership journey, Deb has identified 20 qualities of heart-centered leaders, which you can find in the form of posters (in multiple languages, tap to download!) and card decks.


These 20 qualities make up for great team-building conversations when everyone shares and models their top1-3 qualities they’re currently working on.



3 Words to Consider Removing from Your Day-To-Day Vocabulary



If you’re like most people, your response to the question, how are you doing, probably includes 1 (or more) of these 3 words:


1. Busy.


2. Sorry.


3. Just.


This is especially the case when the person asking the question is a senior leader, because you’re not sure how honest you can be without getting reprimanded.


But what if you’re the leader who is trying to be more heart-centered and thus genuinely wants to know how your team is doing?


When I asked Deb what a leader can do in those situations, she mentioned that her coaching clients aren’t allowed to use those 3 words with her. So, instead of saying they’re busy, they might say they’re overwhelmed with the upcoming deadlines, or not feeling as productive due to the change in weather, for example.


As a heart-centered leader, you might ask several follow up questions when you get “automatic” responses like these to understand how people are really feeling and what’s driving those emotions, without trying to change or judge them.


The more you make it ok for people to be authentic with you, the more information you will have to make adjustments in your leadership. Crowe recommends starting these conversations by sharing how you yourself are really doing – without using the 3 words if possible.



Deb also shares…



  • How leaders can model vulnerability while checking-in with their team


  • How heart-centered leadership is different from servant leadership and traditional leadership


  • Why you want to focus on your top 3 leadership qualities for TODAY, as opposed to tomorrow or this week



If you liked this episode, you may also benefit from hearing:




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