heart-centred leadership

Heart-centred Leadership

Burnout recovery is a wonderful thing, but it’s not the MAIN thing. A bit like sex.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a HUGE passion to help people recover from burnout. I see burnout as a self-perpetuating chronic condition, where the same hard-hitting attributes that initially bring professional success are brutally reversed to generate anxiety and failure. If you’re in it, fixing it must be your #1 priority.

I know. I’ve been in burnout myself and fortunately I discovered a simple and effective remedy.

So, why would I want to leave others languishing in silent despair? I wouldn’t!

I LOVE seeing people emerge from burnout to create a freshly-minted cheery work self. Love it.


My primary purpose is developing heart-centred leadership. On exit from burnout, this is the next destination.

The reason is simple – in these increasingly wayward and unpredictable times, the world NEEDS more heart-centred leaders.

It’s just that people with this leadership drive are EXACTLY those people who end up in burnout. Dedicated, intelligent, hardworking, ambitious and caring professionals. Why do you think so many physicians, nurses, first responders, teachers, lawyers, academics…etc end up in burnout?

Many such people are rather introverted. Many lack belief in the validity of their desire to serve and lead others, yet they are almost always doing so already, in some undeclared way. They often act as mentors, supporting and encouraging others in moving towards their dreams.

Still, they hesitate, not wanting to expose any vulnerability or push themselves forward outside traditional masculine action-based problem-solving personae. In fact, in some analytical disciplines, professionals are trained to park their emotions and operate from the head, as this is deemed to be most productive, reliable and effective. Solve every problem. Never say no. Never baulk at a task. Never fail. Just work harder and faster, with more concentrated effort. To work this way, people must ignore their own values, needs and emotions, and those of the people they are working with. That just flat out doesn’t work and it can lead to loss of morale and efficacy, moral injury, mental illness and even suicide.


People are primarily motivated at work by:

  • Purpose: WHY they do their work, contribution and the difference they make
  • Mastery: progress in meaningful work
  • Autonomy: the control they have over the what, how, when, where and who of their work

Daniel Pink

So, I guide people out of burnout and back to THEIR OWN purpose and contribution, however that looks to them.

Humans perform better when we:

  • raise happiness
  • raise engagement through purpose
  • increase autonomy
  • incent based on strengths, values, aspirations & contribution

“For me, happiness is the joy we feel striving after our potential.”
Fallacy: if you work hard and become successful you will be happy
Truth: happiness brings success
Shawn Achor

If this principle is true, it’s true for you and your team. It’s true for everyone.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.
Simon Sinek


Leadership styles can be learned at any age, they’re not innate
Daniel Goleman

Heart-centred leadership might sound like people before profits. It turns out it’s people and profits. Research suggests that employee happiness, engagement and sense of contribution predict increased profit.

For the longest time, I hid my own leadership instincts from the world. My gift and joy was technical problem-solving. Why, then, would I defect to work on the business and people side? Truth is, I looked at the boys’ club and decided that many of the managers around me were people whose values I did not admire. It looked like profit before people. I didn’t want a bar of it. I wouldn’t – couldn’t – play that game. I hid in my technobubble. They kept trying to promote me. And I ended up amongst them anyway. Turns out I have a gift for leadership and I love facilitating productive connections within and between teams. I love making the machinery of a company work smoothly.

The people I now work with are the same. Fundamentally altruistic leaders, always looking for better ways to support others. But not necessarily wearing their leadership qualities or their hearts on their sleeves.


The work I do now is reconnecting people with their suppressed and denied human leadership qualities. I encourage clients to dream big, to be themselves, to do it their way. To break out the full goodness, ignoring the status quo of both old-school AND disruptor leadership styles.

As I write this, I wonder how you connected with this post. I mean, you read it to the end!!

Is heart-centred leadership on your bucket list? Do you embrace it already?

Is there a schism between the pain of your daily work and your aspirations?

If so, let’s have a chat.

The schism is not so deep and wide as you may imagine. We can cross it. If not now, when??


Make a plan to fix your burnout

Tell me what’s happening for you, we’ll make a plan to fix it. Book here.