Leadership has been and always will be the most valuable asset on earth. Without it, no amount of money, ideas, resources or talent will ever create sustainable impact. With it, odds and obstacles can be overcome, making possibilities limitless. Leadership is what moves us from average to extraordinary; leadership is what enables each of us to unlock our greatest potential. Leadership is what gives us hope for a better tomorrow.
Leadership is not always innate; it must be cultivated and nurtured. Every associate impacts an organization’s direction, but leadership has by far the largest, and most direct effect on an organizational culture. Leadership affects the mindset of the team. Leadership ensures experiences are viewed as opportunities for learning, realizing successes, and failures, as valuable. Leadership cultivates the foundation of culture, empowering associates to experience and integrate learning to achieve the company mission, where each person feels how vital their contributions are to furthering the success. At the core, great leadership is the most fundamental ingredient for any organization to succeed.
So what makes a great leader? Are leaders born or made? How can one be an authentic leader, honest to oneself and others? To understand the ever-evolving nature of leadership and how authentic leaders can be created, we sat down with Lisa A. May, founder of Fülle, whose decade plus experience as a leadership coach of choice for organizations, big and small, gives her a unique insight into this world.
PerceptivX (P): Thanks for joining us Lisa. Let’s start with the most basic but probably one of the most important of questions. What does it take to become a great leader? And if I’m an OK leader, and I want to become a great leader, what do I do?
Lisa (L): This may sound simple but one of the most powerful ways to grow as a leader is to become genuinely self-aware. This is, hands down, your biggest secret tool to making yourself a great leader. It’s important to call out that being self-aware doesn’t mean being self-involved. There are lots of leaders who even though they mean well become way too focused on themselves and their evolution. Becoming truly self-aware means to cultivate, on a daily basis, an accurate sense of how you show up in the world and what motivates you. For instance: What are your actual strengths and opportunities as a leader, and as a person? What impact do you have on others? What do you care most about? What’s your north star, and do you use it as a guidance system? How closely do your actions and behaviors align with your intentions? To truly understand yourself is the key to unlocking your potential. That’s what I want to do. Help others unlock their truest, greatest potential.
(P): Is this the reason why you founded Fülle? What is the philosophy of your company?
(L): I believe that Fülle, which means abundance and fulfilment, resides (even if dormant) within each of us and that it is our sovereign right & opportunity to unlock our greatest potential in this lifetime. Fülle is unique for many reasons: I am able to serve from a place of deep empathy, having held roles at executive levels in the corporate world, enabling me to understand and truly feel what my clients are experiencing, to create bespoke solutions for their specific needs. The breadth of holistic, science-based tools and technologies is a unique differentiator; from neuroscience protocols, to health coaching & nutrition, hypnosis, energy management and the science of resilience. There is a vast toolbox that can be leveraged to serve leaders as they find their truest voice, to shine their brightest light, creating positive change in the world, without losing a single part of themselves in the process. There is a different way to live, to lead and to serve. Leaders from the future will demonstrate neuroplasticity (the ability to change quickly, unwiring and rewiring neural pathways to continue to evolve) and resilience (the ability to recover from and bounce back from stressors to grow energetic capacity.)
There are moments when you see a client’s life change before your eyes. They break through the block that’s been limiting them for years, and they can see and feel their true power. They tap into their own wisdom—wisdom you could see, but that was hidden from them. That’s what inspires me to keep going.
(P): Some of our readers may be unaware of the relationship between neuroscience and leadership. Can you shed some light on the benefits of such a combined approach.
(L): Put simply, neuroscience is the study of the brain and the nervous system and how these systems function physiologically to transform sensory stimuli into output, actions and/or reactions. Coaching is a transformative process of guiding and enabling change within a person for positive outcomes. Coupling these two provides a person with self-awareness and scientific understanding about how the brain is “wired” to process information, learn and create habits. This awareness is then used to “unwire” or dismantle self-limiting beliefs, doubts, anxieties, narrow perspectives and biases. This enables a new way forward where clear intention and vision for the future self become the map to form new thoughts, actions, feelings, habits and ways of being. Neuroscience coaching can help leaders realize their greatest potential through proven models, tools and processes allowing the most authentic self to emerge.
Neuroscience-based coaching can rewire your brain to minimize the pathways that block your potential by forming fresh and productive ones that replace them — thereby creating sustainable, beneficial impact. Clients unlearn patterns of chronic stress and narrow-mindedness, while fortifying positive creation states, allowing authentic and lasting change to occur. Harnessing this powerful ability that resides within each of us, individually enables us to collectively create more positive change in the world.
(P): It seems to us that such an approach can yield tangible results for leaders and organizations. Can you share with our readers what some of those might look like?
(L): Your brain makes you a unique individual. Yes, physiologically we all have the same brain components, but functionally, we are as different and unique as our thumbprints. Neuroscience can help you understand exactly how unique your brain is, while harnessing its power to create the most authentic version of yourself and your life. The unwiring and rewiring process will help you live and lead from a more grounded, real and fulfilled place. Adding neuroscience-based coaching into your annual resolution could grant you numerous benefits, some of them being:
- You can become more creative & innovative.
You do not need to be labeled “visionary” to innovate. Regardless of one’s profile, you can optimize the way the brain and body function, leading to an innovation mindset.
With neuroscience-based coaching, one of the aims is to be able to develop a person’s capacity to regulate away from memorized stress and survival mechanisms to more creation. Creation in action = innovation. So, if we can decrease the chronic cycle of stress and the associated chemicals, like cortisol while tapping into a more open, divergent focus, allowing a more coherent brain / heart state to emerge, creation results. We will begin to see and discover new potential and possibilities for ourselves and our companies that were previously unseen.
- You can revitalize your life force by feeding it optimally.
If your body is your temple, your brain is your life force. Sometimes it is easy to forget that your brain needs to be “fed” to function properly. There are different elements involved, that include sleep, nutrition, exercise and meditation. By understanding your current vitality or lifestyle habits, one can consider ways to address opportunities to allow your brain to optimally function which impacts every aspect of your life.
- You can gain authenticity due to deeper self-awareness.
A deeper understanding of your unique and preferred way to think, act and feel can help you identify opportunities for growth and development. With greater awareness, you can become familiar with what no longer serves you so that we can make the appropriate adjustments to create what does. Deep levels of self-awareness support authenticity because they are derived from your inner most vision, purpose and values. Being true to yourself will ground you, while elevating your knowingness, and ultimately your performance as a human being and leader.
We used to think of the human brain as fixed: for centuries, it was believed that a person’s cognitive function or way of being was an uncontrollable, virtually predetermined. Then, over the latter half of the 20th century, a plethora of studies found that the brain actually changes throughout our lives. Now we know that our brains are shaped by everything from successes to trauma to our daily habits. This idea of neuroplasticity is foundational to Fülle. From a leadership perspective, we can use the brain’s ability to continually rewire and restructure, to evolve. To develop new thoughts, actions, feelings, and ways of being that elevate our emotional, social and attentional intelligence, all of which are necessary in our 21st century working world.
(P): If there is one quality you would want all leaders to learn, what would that be?
(L): (smiles)... Resilience, the ability to navigate periods of stress and change with ease. It is the human capacity to meet adversity, setbacks and trauma, and then recover from them in order to live life fully. Resilience allows you to sustain your energy level under pressure, to cope with disruptive changes and adapt. You bounce back from setbacks. You also overcome major difficulties without engaging in dysfunctional programs, or patterns of behavior.
Resilience is a crucial characteristic of high- performing leaders. Leaders must cultivate it in themselves in order to advance and thrive. They also carry the responsibility for helping to fortify the energy of the people on their teams. Leadership is sustainable only if individuals and teams are able to consistently recover after periods of significant load and/or stress.
Building resilience is essential to experiencing joy in life. We wish not just to survive, but also to thrive. To this end, it is useful to examine the combination of our organizational, professional, and personal roles to ensure that the different aspects of our identity are in balance so that we are able to experience the joy of living.
(P): Your work grants you deep insight into the human condition. As we navigate the pandemic, questions have been raised about the interplay between ‘the purpose of a business’, and the relationship between leadership and employees. If you could snap your fingers and bring about major change, what would that be?
(L): I believe that ‘the purpose of a business’ means creating sound and profitable businesses by “doing good” in the world through delivery of products/services that are non-extractive and regenerative to people and the planet. This means that profit will be generated when positive impact for the world is created, not the other way around. It’s that simple. The old model is broken and the time for change is NOW. This starts by having a leader with a clear vision and mission, while embodying and nurturing neuroplasticity & resilience within themselves, and the people within the company doing the work.
(P): Lisa, thank you very much.
Fülle’s mission is to help busy executives maximize fulfillment by reaching optimal health, wellness, and leadership goals to unlock true potential, leading to peak performance. To know more visit Fülle or contact Lisa at email@example.com.
To understand how neuroscience can be used to change organizations from inside out visit Neurochangesolutions. Also visit Sorce a data driven platform which gives organizations the ability to reconfigure, revive and renew people in a holistic way.