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What Is Wellbeing Leadership? (And Where Are YOU On This Journey?)

Blog Pic 140I recently shared insights from Richard Oliver, the inspiring President of THORLO, a company that has forged a mission, relationships, brands, and growth strategy around the values of abundance and wellbeing. Richard is a clear example, among hundreds of leaders we’ve worked with and interviewed, of how leadership is being redefined across our planet.

We often call this a shift to wellbeing leadership. You may be wondering, “Why?”

To truly be effective as a business leader today means stewarding environments where people and the planet thrive. We add the word wellbeing to emphasize this as the why empowering the role. Wellbeing leaders tap into a deep capacity for thriving they know already exists in people and the planet, and they amplify it in whatever they do, wherever they are.

You’ve likely noticed this drive to lead unfolding for years under various names: businessman Robert Greenleaf’s servant leadership; author Arjuna Ardagh’s translucent leadership; Don Beck and Chris Cowan’s second tier leadership; management consultant Jim Collins’ level 5 leadership, Ken Wilber’s integral leadership; and Lance Secretan’s conscious leadership, to name a few. No matter what name speaks to you, the essence is this: Who you are and how you lead can be an active invitation toward the wellbeing of individuals, relationships, organizations and communities, and the world. Nothing and no one excluded.

This is tall order – a path to walk, not a destination to reach – and, for most of us, much simpler to express in words than in action. Truth is: If you’re on this journey (and you likely are if you’re still reading this blog!) you know leading this way is transformational. Because first and foremost it starts from within. It means making the personal choice every day to uplift yourself and others. And when you forget, you make this choice again and again.

On the path of wellbeing leadership, qualities such as transparency, courage, abundance, compassion, balanced growth, and love take root in your being, demonstrated in leadership actions such as these:

  1. You connect with a deep desire to build something great and be of service to the world, and you allow that desire to guide your decisions in life and work.
  2. You relentlessly ask, “For the sake of what are we creating?” to make sure your ambitions and strategies aim to do no harm and enrich all life.
  3. You make space for new potential to unfold in people and situations. (And when you do, it will often seem extraordinary.)
  4. You advocate for innovations, large and small, that address and transcend the basic challenges of humankind.
  5. You steward a culture – at work, in communities, at home – that motivates people to become more aware, more able, and more accountable for creating healthy relationships with them selves, others, and nature.
  6. You foster agreements and make commitments for mutual gain, rather than engaging in win-lose scenarios.
  7. You seek authentic collaborations, knowing we can accomplish that which is meaningful and impactful together better than any of us can do alone.
  8. When change is needed, you motivate it with inspiration, appreciation, and love, rather than fear-based approaches.
  9. When you make a mess of things – and you will (we all do) – you take responsibility for the mess, help clean it up and learn from it, and forgive those who contributed (including yourself).
  10. As part of your lifestyle, you meditate, exercise, dance, sing, connect with loved ones, or practice other forms of self-care that keep your energies sustained, emotions balanced, and spirits renewed. And you wholeheartedly encourage others to do the same.
  11. You are a non-anxious presence for others, even in difficult situations.
  12. As for leadership power? You get yours through elevating people and whole systems toward life-giving values, new levels of capability and resourcefulness, and wisdom.

(If you feeling particularly courageous make a few notes about specific ways to practice one or more of these behaviors today.)

The Dalai Lama once said, “Let us widen our perspective to include the well being of the whole world and its future generations in our vision of economics and business.” Where are YOU on this journey?

Want to learn more? Come visit my presentations at the Global Wellness Summit, 13-15 November, in Mexico City! Or feel free to contact me directly at renee@wisdom-works.com.


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