By Emmanuelle Langlois, Managing Partner
I just finished an amazing book called The Choice by Edith Eger. She was 16 when she was sent to Auschwitz and lived the unbearable. Throughout her life, she made choices that allowed her to accept, forgive and open her heart to discover the miracle of life. She chose to be free. Being in relationship is also a choice and everyone has the power to create what we call real relationships.
R: Relationships first. When you interact with people you always have the choice to put the relationship first or yourself. Depending on that choice your relationship will be different. By choosing the relationship first you will build trust faster by making people feel heard and taken care of. As a leader, building trust is paramount, allowing people to feel supported and empowered.
E: Empathy. We all need to be seen and understood, and only then we feel connected to others. Empathy is the human quality that a leader needs to demonstrate to build trusting relationships. Brené Brown, who inspires us a lot at Lea_p, says that “Empathy is connecting with the emotion that someone is experiencing, not the event or circumstance". It is therefore important for a leader to not only be self-aware but also aware and tuned in with other people’s feelings. But as Brené Brown says: "Empathy is not always our default response - it's a skill and a choice to be connected".
A: Clearing Assumptions. Human beings are judging machines. This is what helps us to go through life without being seriously hurt or stupid, but it also makes us judge others through our own filters and without real truth or clarity for what is actually happening. In other words, we assume things all the time about why other people say things or do things based on our own bias and beliefs, and it makes us react a certain way which might be completely misaligned with what is actually happening. A conscious leader would have a conversation instead of making assumptions about people. Taking the time and being courageous to discuss things and offer other people the opportunity to speak their truth.
L: Love over fear. We could have started with this as it is the ultimate choice that everyone does when it comes to others: do I fear them or do I love them? Edith Eger chose to be compassionate, optimistic, and curious with life and others. Despite the trauma she experienced, she decided to have positive intent in all her relationships. Leading consciously implies choosing to make that same choice of love over fear.
Consciously creating real relationships means that we favor relationships over our own ego and the need to be right. We connect with people and understand that we all act in different ways because of our own life experiences and this manifests and shapes all our behaviours differently. Self-acceptance (our first cornerstone) also applies to this as once you are self-aware, you can also be aware of others. Once we understand this, we release huge amounts of compassion, empathy and creativity and we can create genuine and meaningful relationships, not assuming things but actually having real conversations. By choosing to take time on our relationships, we value those around us and we collaborate in new ways with people.
R.E.A.L relationships is the second cornerstone of our model.
A conscious leader has a positive intent towards others and they are committed to engage with others in a compassionate way, without making assumptions to create true collaboration.