What does the future of work look like? According to our guest, the future of work is ‘Love in Action.’ Heather Hanson Wickman is the co-founder of Untethered Consulting and the author of “The Evolved Executive,” and today we’re talking about what it means to lead with love, not fear. Heather shares that her purpose is to awaken the souls of leaders to create soulful organizations. So how can we do that? Listen to the full episode:
Why are so many people uncomfortable talking about love in the workplace?
There are still beliefs and baggage around what it means to love. In our language, we don’t have a distinction about what love means at work, but what this kind of love means is human connection.
How can we make love an easier topic to explore?
It starts with a one-on-one connection and conversation. Heather usually begins by defining what love means to her: the absence of fear, having freedom and autonomy, and human connection. And then they begin a conversation about what it means for them as a leader, what it is that they’re trying to create in this team or organization, and then creating a message that fits them and their voice.
What does a workplace rooted in fear look like?
There are many stories of things people do to maintain their power, control, ego, or status in such inhumane and debilitating ways.
It can show up in leaders like:
- Public humiliation
- Being passive aggressive
- Calling someone out for an error in front of their peers
- Being unable to tell the truth, e.g. feeling like you can’t be constructive and honest when your boss asks for feedback
- Feeling like you need to keep up appearances, like looking busy or staying at the office late, even if there’s no extra work to do, otherwise something might happen to you
Any of these scenarios say “it’s not safe to be here.”
What would you say to somebody under the weight of a toxic boss?
You can continue to try different strategies and solutions, like connecting with trusted peers and collectively trying some new initiatives. But there’s also a personal inventory that needs to happen internally. What’s this going to cost you, and are you willing to pay that price? It’s a choice between what you can do, and what’s best for your purpose going forward.
Can you share a few practices of love?
Know that practicing love at work is not easy, and it’s major kudos to you to try small experiments of love with your team. Heather also shares:
- How one organization approached gossip and made that approach a team effort that was embedded in their culture, and…
- How leaders can practice vulnerability in three small words
When it comes to changing culture, which comes first: the team’s desire for change, or the leader’s?
Both. But it’s most effective when the leader is out front leading the charge. Many times a team starts gaining momentum down a path of change — until the leader finds out and squashes the effort. Having a leader who’s open to change is a much easier path to success.
What’s needed for a leader to evolve?
The awakening is unique to every individual. For some, it’s slow and gradual. For some, it’s something as sudden as getting fired or having a heart attack. The important thing is to pay attention to the feelings when they’re alive within you: they’re there to tell us something.
How do people respond to this awakening?
In the beginning, people can be confused, but a few months down the road, when behaviors are continuing and growing, people become alive. They can stop hiding, and they can show up and contribute. It just takes some time for them to trust that this shift is real.
How can you guide leaders through this awakening?
It’s not about being good or bad. It’s solely about a belief or thought patterns, and we can have absolute permission to change those thought patterns once we understand what they are, and who and what they served.
Continue the climb because this work is not easy work. It’s a revolution, and we need people like you to be on the journey with us, recreating the way that we work. Find people who can support you and move you forward, because nobody climbs Mount Everest alone.