Imagine you’re heading into a company-wide meeting excited to share a new initiative with your team. You speak into a sea of faces and can feel the resistance in the room. Instead of sharing your excitement about new possibilities, your employees shake their heads. They can’t see past the overwhelm and promise of more work.

Some would say that this is a passion problem, filling roles with bodies rather than people who are passionate about the work they do. The truth is, it’s a leadership problem. When leaders come in lofty expectations, they fail to embrace the humanity (remember, humans still run the world) of our workforce. When this happens, the CEO’s compass is once again challenged with a changing environment, leading them off track from true North or Peace of Mind.

To navigate the complexity back to true North, three Compass Points give us the answers:

Leaders are sometimes off track, because they move away from their true Purpose, the northwest compass point. The purpose now sits in the wings while we implement the next greatest initiative, but they don’t validate it against the purpose and whether it makes sense or not. I recently interviewed Joseph James Slawek who spoke about “Wholesome Leadership” which is akin to “Purpose” and sought to get clearer on what he meant. 

There is not a lot written on Wholesome leadership and was fortunate to find this article that defined well what it means to be a wholesome leader. In the article Wholesome leadership and self mastery by Anu Wakhlu she writes leaders, irrespective of their industry, need to be:

  • good at creating a powerful vision,
  • inspiring people to follow that vision, 
  • thinking strategically through various business options, 
  • adding value through innovation, 
  • leading teams and people and most importantly, 
  • being in integrity and acting as role models for their teams.

I propose as a leader who is off track from “Purpose” to validate their work in the context of Wholesome Leadership to ensure it meets all those criteria when moving forward with new initiatives. 

The next compass point I would examine is that of Platforms, the southern point to ensure we have the right tools in place for leading people. In the context of ensuring Simplification, Lisa Bodell speaks about having the right metrics in place in her article: Planning to Simplify at Work? Do this first:

  • Decrease in number of approval layers required for a process
  • Employees appear less overwhelmed by their workload
  • Number of steps or layers removed from our product-development process

If your new initiative is making the lives of your people easier with the right measurements in place, they will support you and follow your leadership. 

Finally, the compass point of Process, the southeast point is often circumvented when we don’t engage in dialog with our people about the changes. The “eyeroll” or “heads down” gestures are indicators that they’re about to tune out to what is coming. Process speaks to the role of the leader to ensure the team has everything they need to succeed whether in time, resources or capability. When the leader pauses here to understand any concerns of the team and involves them in navigating the changes amidst the daily work, they become part of the solution and more willing to engage with the new initiatives. They do this because you approached them with humanity and you are seeking to give them the tools they need.

When you respect your people with Wholesome Leadership and give them the tools to Simplify their work, you will instantly elevate your leadership for a lasting impact. 

If this article resonated with you or you have a challenging situation, you can email medirect message me on linkedin or simply grab a few minutes on my calendar.  I find through casual conversation The CEOs Compass often has all the answers for you to get back on track. 

The CEO’s Compass: Your Guide to Get Back on Track – If you’re that leader who feels in their gut something is off track, this could be the resource for you.

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Good Reads

Take Care of your People by Paul Sarvadi – I started this book during my book launch of The CEO’s Compass and noticed so many similarities between our two brands – take care of the people and they’ll take care of the business. I traveled to Florida this week for a little play and plan on finishing this great read. Make sure you get your copy!

Good Music

Trial by Warriors by Veigar Margeirsson….while sitting in Florida this week knowing I had to get myself in gear to write my weekly blog post, this song came up in my favorites. A highly uplifting piece from my “Epic” collection. I suggest you follow all of Veigar Margeirsson’s work if you’re looking for inspirational content. 

Good Advice

I feel honored to have captured Joe’s voice this week on my podcast; a leader who truly understands what it is to leave a  lasting legacy. He spoke at length about his insights and this quote from our conversation is a gem. 

“As a CEO, businesses run on trust, they don’t run on money.”

–Joe Slawek

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