As Valencore closes out its InsideOut Leadership Blog Series this week, our team would like to take a moment to celebrate the blogs this project has generated over the last 7 months. Our BlogSquad authors collectively posted 30 blogs on authenticity, mindfulness, and feminine leadership. Thanks to our readers for following us and helping us make this project a success!
For fun, below we've posted a word cloud by Tagxedo generated from all blog text posted by Valencore's InsideOut Leadership Blog Series.
In this final blog we provide links and brief content summaries of all articles posted for the series, organized by topic. We invite you to take a moment to stroll down memory lane with us. Enjoy!
Taylor describes three commonly used approaches for being authentic (or not!) with others. All styles have merit in the workplace, depending on the situation, but take a look to see if you unknowingly default to one style over another when you’re under pressure.
Sidney offers preliminary results from a study on authenticity currently being conducted by a team of Valencore researchers. He synthesizes responses from over 600 working professionals who answered the question: “What three conditions most make you feel as though you cannot be authentic with others?” Sidney highlights major themes from the data to describe the top reasons why people struggle to be authentic. Many of us desire to show up more fully in our workplaces, but there are lots of reasons to hold back.
Krystal provides a hands-on example of authentic conversation between people. She illustrates how easy it is to socially interact with others from a state of inauthentic autopilot, such that an unspoken “no” turns into an unintentional “yes.” Here Krystal invites us to be more conscious in the moment so we can courageously speak our truth to others, and she reminds us that modeling authentic conversation will ultimately give other people permission to do the same.
Taylor identifies three commonly held beliefs about authenticity and challenges them one by one, to clarify what it means in the leadership context to be true to the self while serving others. If you are leading others while holding misconceptions about what authenticity really means, read this article. Otherwise you may be failing to lead effectively, despite your good intentions.
Lonnie highlights how an individual’s authenticity in leadership can be informed by interactions with social media. He describes how the personas a given leader displays in cyberspace are ultimately carved from the same whole, and he considers switching social media contexts as a path to increased self-awareness and greater behavioral flexibility.
Cynthia encourages us as readers to pause and do a gut-check about the people influencing our lives. She presses us to take a look around our day-to-day settings and consider, “Are these people truly your people?” May we choose to interact with people who bring light, happiness, and positive energy into our lives. And while we lead, may we opt to work in contexts where support and care is mutually given and received.
Here Krystal paints a clear example of how easy it is to unconsciously allow others to violate our personal boundaries. She explains why setting and enforcing boundaries is so important to healthy functioning and to long-term happiness. Take a moment to reflect on your own approach to boundary-setting!
Taylor synthesizes a multitude of values-discovery exercises into five steps. If you may be steering the ship of your life without a map, or if you sense that you could be happier, then this blog is for you. Consider giving yourself time out of your day to identify your core values. The benefits of this valuable work can last a lifetime, as the energy you invest in yourself now will allow you to establish a strong personal foundation for the future. May we strive to live authentically from a place of core purpose and intention!
Krystal reflects on the personal importance of her morning routine. She acknowledges how critical it is to proactively choose digital-free slowness, to stretch and awaken gently, and to enjoy the scents and beauty around her upon waking, and especially before her to-do list takes over for the day. Krystal emphasizes the value of “coming home” to herself so she doesn’t start to seek her own happiness simply by craving attention from others. What morning routine do you practice that helps you feel whole, well, and fulfilled before the day begins?
Krystal Brandt illustrates how damaging it can be to our relationships when we conceal our important, unspoken truths from others. When we stay silent out of fear of hurting others’ feelings or facing social rejection, we can be accidentally distancing ourselves from the people we care about most. In this blog, Krystal encourages us to speak authentically regardless of the consequences, and in service of cultivating truly loving and honest relationships in our lives.
Cynthia Sims provides historical and current examples of authentic leaders, servant leaders, and toxic leaders. By presenting these cases, she encourages us to reflect on the kind of power orientation and motivation we operate from while leading others. For instance, are we self-focused or other-focused? Are we authentic to our values or not? Do we prefer to lead quietly or while we are in the limelight?
Taylor writes a special note to straight shooters--to those of us who “tell it like it is” without much regard for how others may react. She encourages us to think about the ethics involved with bluntly authentic messages, and she describes some of what may be personally at stake as a result of engaging in behavior that too often exercises authenticity to the max. Taylor recommends that we find ways to communicate with others in a way that honors authenticity along with clear intentions, purpose, and well being.
In this post, Nick explains the difference between acting and reacting. He describes how we can increase our awareness and change our habits, which involves acknowledging the gap between our perceived and actual effectiveness as leaders.
Taylor quotes transformational change-leader and CEO Bill O’Brien, who reminds us that, “The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener.” She explains how mindfulness skills may become your most vital tool in your ability to practice leadership and mobilize change. Here Taylor invites you to consider 3 principles of mindfulness that can enhance your leadership practice as you strive to hold steady in times of change.
Crystal brings attention to the value of systems awareness in leadership. Systems awareness, or being able to see how the parts fit into the whole, allows leaders to more adeptly manage their one-on-one and group relationships. Systems awareness also calls for making socially conscious choices in a way that aligns with long-term organizational goals. Crystal offers four questions that leaders should ask themselves to cultivate their systems awareness and take their leadership to the next level.
Taylor challenges us as leaders to think carefully about places in our lives where our hearts might have hardened, and in what instances we might be losing sight of our deeper purpose. She then demonstrates how mindfulness can cultivate deeper compassion toward ourselves and others. Read her article to learn how you can authentically acknowledge your connection to others, and, in doing so, keep sight of your intentions and purpose while leading.
Stacey encourages us to become more mindful of the sensations in our physical bodies. She explains how increasing awareness of our somatic sensations can provide us with more information about what is happening around us, and she highlights how connecting with our own bodies can beneficially assist us as we make leadership interventions. In this blog, Stacey provides 6 questions for us to consider as we strive to cultivate greater body-awareness.
Nick reminds us that it takes energy to engage in any consistent mindfulness practice. Being mindful can be tiring, so it is important to regularly renew our reserves. Below Nick offers advice regarding scheduling, effective breaks, rhythmic breathing, and self-forgiveness -- all of which are important to sustaining an ongoing mindfulness practice.
Taylor describes a memorable learning moment she experienced while delivering a mindfulness training to a group. An adversarial participant provided feedback about the training, and that led Taylor to feel reactive and defensive. Here she provides an important lesson learned from that challenging moment: when resistance arises, meeting it with the intention of spaciousness is essential in order to cultivate the potential for transformation. May we learn to actively work with moments of resistance in an effort to enhance our mindfulness practice!
Stacey shares with us a lesson she learned from struggling to travel through a labyrinth. Stacey uncovered a pattern she often faces in her own mindfulness practice: operating from stress, being victim to perfectionist ideals, and holding the belief that a journey is only worthwhile if it involves hard work. If you identify with this same life pattern, Stacey suggests that you challenge your inner-critic with renewed self-acceptance and the idea that you are “good enough” as you already exist.
Stacey Williams describes the harmful personal tendency to be intensely busy until your body can no longer handle it, before finally transitioning into a sloth-like mode of extreme laziness -- and the latter is a different sort of self-destruction! She pulls from Vedic texts to offer a solution: have you ever considered slowing down in conjunction with taking action? Stacey reassures us that it is possible to create a healthy and productive lifestyle if you shift your mindset to embrace harmony, balance, and purpose.
Taylor Harrell writes about the importance of creativity in organizations. She encourages us to reflect on our own methods for being creative, and particularly the degree to which we are able to suspend judgment or not. Taylor advises us to mindfully enter into the creative process with the pure intention to remain curious.
Crystal examines dangerous communication patterns that can occur in unmindful leadership. She offers examples of detrimental uses of voice to challenge us to think about how often we unload our truth to others in counterproductive ways. Then Crystal offers “4 Ps” (Presence, Purpose, Permission, and Parameters) as reflective prompts to help us speak from a place of truth that is balanced, change-oriented, and considerate of others.
Nick describes his lifelong journey honoring the feminine and masculine sides of himself. He explains how, through intentional development work, he was over time able to embrace masculinity so it could be integrated with his naturally feminine inclinations. The practice Nick shares in this post has helped him become a functionally flexible leader, so he encourages readers to reflect deeply on how masculine and feminine energy are indeed present in each of us--even if we don’t realize it (or want to acknowledge it) at first!
Cynthia describes how her mother was her first leader, teacher, and compassionate judge. She illustrates how, at home every day, her mother embodied clear values for her children to learn and follow. Cynthia reflects on how lessons from childhood formed her into the person and leader she is today.
Crystal demonstrates the value of tapping into her own vulnerabilities in order to authentically connect with others. While we don’t need to show our raw human nature during every leadership intervention we make, in select moments, doing so can be a very powerful approach to being heard. How do we lead others by being maximally helpful, open-minded, and insightful? Click below to read Crystal’s example.
Special thanks to all of our talented BlogSquad writers who generously contributed their time and creative energy to this effort: Stacey Williams, Krystal Brandt, Taylor Harrell, Dr. Nick Franco, Dr. Cynthia M. Sims, and Dr. Lonnie R. Morris, Jr.! Thanks also to Dr. Taylor Peyton Roberts and to Dr. Crystal Dujowich for organizing this project and overseeing its successful execution, in addition to writing with the BlogSquad.
The Valencore Team hopes you enjoyed reading these articles over the last several months, we thank you for following us, and we very much are looking forward to launching more projects like this in the future!