The other day, a colleague of mine was expressing his frustrations with the leaders in his business as the recommendations they presented regarding a recent issue didn’t take a holistic view and the proposed solution would surely miss the mark. The concept of holistic view gets talked about like everyone understands it. What does it mean and how do you put it into action?
A holistic leadership approach takes a 360 view of everything that impacts the business and helps inform the leader on what requires attention. It starts with the leader and the choices he or she makes to be in the present moment, to be accountable for his or her own actions and to be aware and understand the impact leadership behavior has on others. Here are six focus areas to get on a path to becoming more holistic in your leadership.
Knowledge: It is about knowing who you are and being grounded in a set of core values. It’s having the business acumen and the knowledge of the business and knowing when you need to delve deeper or when you have enough information to make an informed decision. It’s about understanding the capability of the organization and matching the right people, to the right roles, to the right actions to best serve the business and its people. It’s the knowledge when you don’t have the answers, you enlist talented and smart people to create the solutions to advance the work forward.
Resilience: Leaders need the insight to manage the emotional, mental and physical aspects of challenges, opportunities and setbacks in a way that takes into account the people and the business needs. A holistic leader has the compassion to listen and work to enroll others while being able to have the courage to stay the course for the good of the enterprise. It is a true balancing act to lead an organization through business transformations so that the organization and people thrive as a result of the change.
Agility: Holistic leaders are flexible and adaptable and know when to make the business shifts. They are able to create a foundation for others to pivot and move quickly when the business needs change. Holistic leaders are able to make sense of highly dynamic situations and to initiate energy and creativity in oneself and others to achieve positive outcomes.
Relationships: Business is about interactions and connections. A holistic leader values people and relationships. They see their work created through relationships versus treating the business and people on a transactional basis. Holistic leaders are interested and committed to creating and sustaining satisfying and meaningful relationships at work, with family and friends and in the community.
Space: Holistic leaders know that to find innovative ideas and perform with excellence, people need a safe place to learn, explore and grow. These leaders create the safe space and environment for people to be able to bring their best to any situation.
Presence: With presence comes a mindful, authentic awareness that what a leader says or does has an impact on what others do and say and therefore create the opportunities or hindrances for businesses to thrive. Holistic leaders have the awareness and ability to lead even in the most sensitive situations with the intention to help not harm. They realize their leadership is only a small part of the entire enterprise and it takes a village of people to make a difference in the results.
By taking a holistic approach to leading organizations, leaders are better equipped to handle a broader base of business challenges in a way that enrolls and engages others to action. They are able to take a 360 view of the business situation, understand the components and find enterprise thinking solutions.