A very large percentage of my coaching clients come to me to help them balance their leadership style in one way or another:

Those with backbone describe themselves in one or more of the following ways:

    • I am self-sufficient and often feel I don’t need anyone
    • I am a no-nonsense person. I am direct, saying it as I see it
    • I can be dominating and refuse to compromise. I like to exert my influence on others and have them capitulate to doing it my way
    • I can be confrontational and intimidating, overwhelming others with the force of my intense energy and anger
    • It’s important to me to look the best – I compete in every part of my life to come out on top
    • I focus on the externals and on the world of appearances – I am aware of the status of what I achieve, what I do and what I own

Those with heart will describe themselves in something like the following ways:

    • I am a people pleaser – I try to get people to like me through my giving behavior
    • Approval is important for me to receive and to give. I look to others for their approval and use my approval as a way to have control over others
    • I often find that I seem to be rescuing others
    • I go along with others and their agendas so that I don’t create a scene – it’s just easier that way
    • I am self-effacing, downplaying my value and removing myself from the focus of attention
    • I accommodate the wishes of others, thereby avoiding the potential for emotional discomfort in the form of conflict

I think you get the picture. You may even recognize people in your midst – or perhaps even yourself – in some of these statements. The point is that having a backbone but little heart or having heart but little backbone simply is not enough. As leaders, we all need both backbone and heart to be effective.

How to find the balance between Backbone and Heart?

And so my coaching for backbone and heart programmes seek to create the right balance between these two attributes, that is the right balance for you, my client. Our coaching conversations tend to be within the following framework questions, all within the overall objective of balancing backbone and heart:

  1. What would being at my best more of the time look like?
  2. What would the leadership culture I would like to instil look like and how could I leave that as a leadership legacy?
  3. How do I build the type of relationships – vertically upwards and downwards as well as laterally – to achieve this?
  4. How can I maximise delivery through others?

In our conversations we centre on your current way of being in each of these areas and what your new way of being would be – and then we design practices (not exercises) that help you to introduce the necessary new behaviours inherent in that new way of being in your daily life and, in so doing, we enable you to inculcate the new daily habits of leading with both backbone and heart.

So, if you see any resemblances in yourself or someone in your team in the statements above, maybe it’s time to approach us and find out more about what we can do for you or them, and this month’s offer to you.

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