My leadership philosophy has naturally evolved over time, influenced by my own experiences and values, rather than any theory or research. Through reflection though, I’ve realised there are many correlations between my leadership style to both relational leadership and positive psychology, particularly within the ‘Connection’ space.
My purpose to support people by helping them be reflective and feel connected, so they know and understand who they are and how they can make a difference to themselves and others, aligns with the principles of relational leadership and positive psychology in the following ways:
Relational leadership emphasises the importance of building positive relationships with team members and those I serve, fostering trust and collaboration, and recognising and valuing the strengths and contributions of each individual. By helping others reflect on their own strengths and values and connecting them with others who share similar goals and values, I cultivate a sense of community, shared responsibility and collaboration that is consistent with relational leadership.
Positive psychology focuses on identifying and leveraging individual and team strengths, promoting resilience and emotional intelligence, and cultivating a positive mindset. By helping people reflect on their own strengths and values and how they can make a difference to themselves and others, I am promoting positive self-concept and self-efficacy, which are key aspects of positive psychology.
I believe this alignment has developed due to my own journey through depression, disillusionment and self-doubt (I've written about this journey in many of my previous blog posts). My personal growth developing my emotional intelligence and my own need for connection has driven much of the ‘heart-work’ I do with colleagues - all humans need to feel they are seen, heard and valued. Empathy can often be swept aside in the hustle and bustle of leadership, but the importance of a genuine interest in, and seeking to understand the perspectives, needs and concerns of those we lead cannot be overstated.
I know I work best where the culture fosters positive relationships, staff wellbeing and engagement, not just organisational success (although I would argue that any organisational success without these things would likely be dysfunctional and short lived). I want to be a leader who connects, engages, inspires, motivates and empowers others to achieve their best.
The deeper your relationship with others, the more effective will be your leadership. People will not follow you if they do not trust you, and before someone will lend you a hand, you must first touch their heart. Robin Sharma