I had two significant conversations last week talking about authenticity and meaning in our work. We don’t always see the obvious. Someone who presents as confident, capable, even strategic can be as empty as can be. Yes, full of the right words, strategic linkages, linear flows and other deliberately important but shallow phrases. They might have an important job, looking after many people and a major division and a family who’s on the fast track to societal bliss.
And it may be perfect. But it may also be that you feel something is not congruent. As one of my colleagues said, “there’s nothing in here”, stabbing his heart. I remember being a cynical boy listening to stuff at a religious service about loving with all your heart and thinking “isn’t this just an organ that pumps blood!”.True, but we also now know that the wiring in our bodies is as big in our brains as it is in our gut. A gut feeling then perhaps, though that’s not the entire point of this.
If your organisation is only focussed on a limited range of number-driven KPIs then what? Happy investors? Possibly, but can the numbers only come from looking at the numbers? If you’re reading this then you probably don’t think so, but I challenge you to ask yourself if there aren’t times when the leadership and authenticity that drives business success is put to one side, because we really need to focus on the numbers. Maybe that always happens. If it’s true that corporate spending on leadership development slows during a recession, then that’s evidence enough I reckon. Say it again, spending on leadership development slows during a recession. That’s okay, but don’t pretend you think leadership development is a key driver of success. The manager with no heart has taken over. And a body without a heart is well, stuffed really, the brain will soon die along with all the other organs. And you won’t even know if you’re bleeding without a heart.
Enough of the metaphor! When I engage with an authentic person who has meaning in their life I know it and I can connect, whatever they do. Can you? Look around you at work. Who hits the spot?
Are you leading with something in the spot? That something is everything you are. A happy authentic space.