Updated: Aug 10, 2019
I was thrilled to have such an engaged audience at the Aston Business School in Birmingham last week, when I spoke at its Exec MBA Summer School event.
It was a wonderful opportunity to visit one of Europe’s biggest business schools – it’s part of Aston University. And to talk to established and emerging senior leaders about my favourite trinity: #Compassion #EmotionalIntelligence and #psychologicalsafety.
I called my presentation, Do Less and Lead More because it was all about that critical tipping point where leaders have to move away from their transactional doing and thinking comfort zone to a new arena of leadership that’s all about sensing and feeling.
I help leaders who get to the top and then realise that they are there through achievement and IQ and constantly meeting that raised bar. Suddenly they are in a bubble and it’s quite a lonely bubble as well as a scary place to be because often they have no one to talk to.
They dare not say they are not happy or motivated. They are scared to say they are uncomfortable and nervous. And the more scared they get, the more they will resort to their usual telling, directing and doing. And why not?! It’s familiar, comfortable and what got them there!
Compassion in leadership is a competitive advantage
Compassionate, emotionally-intelligent and people-centred leaders create connected, committed and successful businesses. But it takes time, practice and courage to get there.
Compassion in leadership and compassion in business is gradually being seen as a competitive advantage. And as a factor that will attract employees and clients in the same way sustainability has done. So to be on the cusp of your profession, to be sought after, means being a leader who can understand and develop your emotional intelligence and appreciate that working with the intent of compassion as a leader will set you above.
Who are you? How do you deal with pressure as a leader?
Similarly, talent potential is increasingly recognised as the demonstration of emotional intelligence. It’s taken for granted that you can do and think. Now it’s much more about who you are, how you deal with pressure and your own fears and anxiety as a leader.
Looking out into the hall, I could see some puzzled faces among the 90-strong summer school students gazing back at me! But I could also see a lot of note-taking which I thought was a good sign.
And I was thrilled that some of the audience went on to give my talk a positive “review” on social media as I was actually pretty nervous at the start and had the classic dry mouth and pounding heart rate.
But as I tell myself and my clients: being real, feeling OK in your own skin and being bold enough to say it as it is shows that you are human and you are fallible.
It’s all about honesty, not ego.