Leaders are healers: Leaders must heal themselves

When we read the papers these days or watch television, or consult social media we can easily be filled with sadness and even despair.

We seem to have “leaders” who have no boundaries to the hurt they impose on others.

On Leadership Failures

If we made a list of the hundred worst leaders who do more harm than good, the list would be a horrible summary of humanity’s disgrace. The list would include men and women from all over the world; some from under-developed countries and some from so-called developed countries.  

When we confront the evil lives of those who start wars, displace millions of people, abuse and oppress the needy, destroy jobs and families for a better bottom line, use others with no respect for their dignity, we cannot but be overwhelmed by leadership failures.

Certainly we need leaders who can heal others instead of harming them, but first and foremost it is increasingly obvious that leaders must heal themselves.

On Regretful Leadership

 History and contemporary experiences show us leaders who have led followers to atrocities, violence, hatred, division, and polarization.

But even locally many leaders diminish and become less than they could be because of their own leadership styles.

Some leaders are immersed in denial, arrogance, and deceit, and their leadership makes them inhuman. Domineering, arrogant, greedy leaders create victims everywhere. In many organizations, the boss who is responsible for vision, values, and standards cause regretful leadership.

They have:

  • No sense of responsibility
  • No vision
  • No values
  • No standards

Much contemporary organizational disease that cries out for healing results from leaders’ inauthentic, that is, sick ways of thinking and desiring. Other leaders, at least become aware of a gnawing sense of regret for their leadership failures.

Leaders must heal themselves of their own failures and bring harmony into their own lives.

On Healing Leadership

The primary focus of healing leadership is the self-healing of the leader, who like everyone else yearns for wholeness. So much pseudo-leadership today is a festering wound that must be cleansed and disinfected before it will ever heal.

An individual leader must always appreciate that he or she needs healing in order to effectively serve others and the organization.

Perhaps, leaders should take an oath similar to the physicians; first do no harm.

Some so-called leaders could only have a healing influence on the organization by resigning. There are situations that cannot be healed, such as those that arise from deliberate evil and unethical decisions of a controlling boss.

Moreover, individuals who have been absolute jerks for years and years need psychological counseling before change is possible. Healing self from greed, ambition, and controlling attitudes need:

  • Self-discipline
  • Temperance
  • A focus on others
  • A new view of self
  • A new commitment to integrity

On Appreciative Leadership

A leader who wishes to heal others needs self-care, a healthy lifestyle, and behavioral changes where appropriate. He or she also needs to appreciate the meaning of life, have some personal understanding of suffering and sickness, appreciate the benefits of personal healing, and be open to the healing effects of others.

Once a person understands his or her own need of healing, he or she can then appreciate the advantages of healing for others.

A leader then hopes for his or her own change and for others’ too.

The Hopeful Leader

A leader of hope must also deal with the negativity and pain that come with leading others. At times, leaders work with awkward and difficult employees, suffer the stress and even agony of decision-making, and face the anguish of attempting to resolve gut-wrenching situations.

They must cope with the personally felt consequences of job stress, burnout, accidents, others’ harassment, terminations, losses to the organization when workers retire, and even the pressures of success.

Leaders frequently need to deal with their own pain and with the pain of others, and find that leadership can impact one’s health, relationships, sense of purpose, and fulfillment. They can be dedicated to community and feel lonely. Of course, a sick organization makes good leaders of hope sick too, unless they can steel themselves against it.

Personal Transcendence

Healing self in these situations is part of the ongoing conversion of a leader. It means overcoming personal sin, even the small tendencies to selfishness that tend to weaken one’s wholehearted commitment. A leader’s journey is away from self-centeredness to self-transcendence and to a focusing on the importance of others.

This includes:

  • Removing prejudice
  • Being open to others
  • Listening more
  • Talking less
  • Being more attentive
  • Less distracted
  • Valuing others more
  • Judging others less
  • Centering on the legacy of others

Healing of Self

It will also include working for trust and never presuming it, telling the truth and living the truth in love, communicating well and clarifying positions and values, guaranteeing others their own space, maintaining a vision of high hopes amid the mini despairs.

The training of leaders to self-healing includes integrity, honesty, breaking down barriers, releasing others’ potential, being magnanimous in dealing with others.

Healing of self is a redirection of one’s mind and heart and is an integral component of successful spiritual leadership.

So how are you doing at taking an honest look at your personal leadership flaws and identifying where you are broken? How can you work to find remedies to replace areas of trouble. With whom can you seek advise and coaching to improve you personal leadership effectiveness? i would love to hear your thought!

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Dr. Leonard Doohand

Dr. Leonard Doohan  is an Author and Workshop Presenter
He focuses on issues of spiritual leadership
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Part 3: Leaders, Turn Your Informed and Engaged Employees Into Advocates

Leading a team of informed and engaged employees is extremely rewarding .

Everyone seems to get along, people are motivated to do their jobs well, and your business appears to be running like a well-oiled machine. (For more on that, see my first article or second article in this series.)

But if you stop there, you’re doing yourself and your team a huge disservice.

You’re missing out on the key next step: creating advocates.

Employee Advocates as First Responders

As a leader, creating a team full of brand advocates is beneficial for a number of reasons. Most of all, it adds a human element to your public relations. When your employees are the ones promoting your brand, your audience is much more likely to listen.

In fact, 84 percent of people say they trust recommendations from their acquaintances over those that come through traditional advertising.

Employee advocates are also your first line of defense against those who may be uninformed about your brand (or unhappy with it). In a social media-driven world where people are digitally communicating 24/7, this is especially crucial.

In one study, 56 percent of employees said they’ve defended their company via a public platform — and raising this number is the ultimate goal of employee advocacy.

Acting as a Brand Megaphone

The best employee advocates are proud, vocal, savvy, and educated about what they do. They take their jobs seriously and understand the importance of their roles — both within their departments and for the company as a whole.

Advocates are driven and career-oriented, and they place a high value on their personal brands.

Their ability to be vocal creates enormous levels of engagement. Not only do they show their enthusiasm for their jobs internally, but they also want to share their appreciation with the world.

That said, a love for the job isn’t enough. To be effective advocates, they must also get the proper guidance, training, and tools to share their knowledge with their audience of followers and connections.

That’s where you, as a leader, come in.

Creating Employee Advocates

Here are five techniques that will help you create employee advocates:

1. Put Parameters in place

Informed, engaged employees need to know what they can and cannot say about their companies on public platforms. For instance, someone might be dying to celebrate the positive outcomes of a corporate rebrand, but he isn’t sure whether it’s OK to share that information with the public.

To avoid this, create and distribute a list of best practices for communicating about the company, as well as a social media policy. This might seem like a no-brainer, but one survey revealed that fewer than half of all companies currently have policies in place. Without clear parameters, employees will likely share too much or too little, causing their advocacy to be ineffective (or to backfire).

2. Collaborate to Identify Goals

As you build your advocacy program, be sure to include your employees in the process. They’re the ones who will carry it out, so work together to determine your goals and definition of success.

For instance, are you looking to improve HR and company culture? If so, your ambassador program should be more internally focused. But if you’re striving to improve social selling and lead generation, then your program will be largely social and built on employees’ existing connections.

Either way, your employees have a valuable perspective that should be factored into your plans.

3. Incorporate Technology

To ensure ease of use, simplicity, and adoption, implement technology that supports your advocacy goals. Studies show that employees’ usage of social media, smartphones, and after-hours Internet directly correlates with their performance as advocates.

In addition, employees of socially engaged companies are 57 percent more likely to align social media engagement with more sales leads.

4. Level the Playing Field

To encourage participation, you must give employees a reason to opt in — and an easy method for doing so. Some employees aren’t natural advocates and have no interest in participating; don’t force them. That will only lead to bad things for both of you.

Instead, recognize and reward employees who are talking about your organization and spreading your brand’s message.

Create toolkits for managers to share with their direct reports that detail your program, the opportunities it offers, and the benefits of joining. Announce it during all-hands meetings, share success stories, and give employees more than one chance to sign up.

5. Dive Into the Data

Once you’ve defined success, identified measurable goals, and launched your employee advocacy program, make sure to continuously gather and analyze data.

Over time, this information will uncover what’s working and what’s not, and it will allow you to make necessary adjustments down the road to maximize your program.

Creating Positive Impact

Informed and engaged employees are prime candidates for brand advocacy because they’re already intrinsically motivated to collaborate and make a difference for your company. They want to have an impact on both your culture and your bottom line.

Employee advocates can be your most valuable assets — but it’s up to you to provide them with the framework and tools to get there.

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Russell Fradin

Russ Fradin is the founder and CEO of Dynamic Signal
He is a Digital Media industry veteran and an Angel Investor
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Becoming Strategic: Leading with Focus and Inspiration (Timi Gleason, 2015)

It’s time to stop feeling overwhelmed by the abundance of tactical thinking that is going on around you.

Or are you not sure what strategic thinking is?

Becoming Strategic will clear that up!

Originally published as Coach As Strategic Partner (2010), this very readable book is loaded with techniques and ideas for assuring your brand as a valuable strategic thinker is noticed!

More About the Author Here

How Leaders Can Create Informed Employees

Employee Knowledge

Your employees are your lifeblood, and as a leader, one of your most important tasks is making sure they stay happy and productive.

There are thousands of techniques you can use to boost employee satisfaction and output, but one of the more overlooked options is creating informed employees.

Informed employees are more likely to become engaged employees. They feel ahead of the curve, valued, and confident in the direction your company is heading. As a result, they’re more likely to be loyal, spread positive cheer about your brand, and feel more personally invested in the work they do.

Knowledge Is Power

It’s easy to get caught up in the need for speed, efficiency, and frugality — and leaders across the globe are constantly searching for ways to cut costs and run lean. But employee satisfaction often takes a backseat in their attempts to do this, and making this mistake can have major negative effects on a company.

A survey of more than 300 randomly selected businesses showed that the lowest-performing firms were more focused on cutting costs and boosting productivity than on developing customer and employee relationships. Further, 45 percent of these low performers fell short of their net profit goals as a result.

When employees don’t know what’s going on, they feel much less connected to their companies. It becomes harder for them to do their jobs, they don’t feel any real urgency to create high-quality work, and their productivity declines. Because they aren’t engaged, they’re less willing to collaborate with peers and go the extra mile. They become bored, start going through the motions, and check out.

What It Really Takes to Inform Employees

Informing employees takes more than sending cheesy, cheerful company newsletters and maintaining an office bulletin board. It requires transparency, creativity, and technology.

Use the following four guidelines to ensure you’re informing your employees the right way:

  1. Honesty is the best policy. Creating a culture of transparency is ideal, but it’s no easy task. Fifty percent of employees say that a lack of transparency holds their company back, and 71 percent feel their company fails to spend enough time explaining its goals. It’s up to you to empower your managers to take ownership of what they communicate. Tell them they need to honestly and directly communicate with employees, explaining the “why” behind every company initiative.
  1. Consistency is key. Be consistent and frequent with your approach, and always make it clear that communication is a two-way street. In a recent poll, 85 percent of employees said they’re most motivated when management offers regular updates on company news, followed by encouragement to ask questions and give opinions. If you decide to hold monthly staff meetings, stick to the schedule. Only cancel or reschedule them when absolutely necessary.
  1. Make it fun and easyMotivation and gamification strategies are great ways to increase engagement — and technology can play a major role in making informational exercises fun for employees. In one study, gamification led to a 48 percent increase in engagement and a 36 percent reduction in turnover. Perhaps you can create a fun video featuring executives, along with short quiz questions, to replace antiquated compliance trainings. Or you might create an app or immersive digital experience for performance reviews. With today’s tech, the possibilities are endless.
  1. Open your earsInformed employees must feel they have a voice. They have nothing to gain from hiding their insights from co-workers, so if you give them a platform to express themselves, they’ll be more likely to share and collaborate. The more informed they feel, the more likely they’ll be to share feedback on what’s working and what isn’t.

When you successfully keep your employees informed, you’re setting the stage for a more productive workforce — one that will ultimately return the favor and speak highly of your company.

Boosting communication and informing employees is just the first step. Next, you need to engage them to the point that they follow through with action. For more on that, stay tuned for the second part of this series.


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Russell Fradin

Russ Fradin is the founder and CEO of Dynamic Signal
He is a Digital Media industry veteran and an Angel Investor
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