Response to Why Leaders Must Feel Pain: It’s really about integrity

My response to Peter Bregman’s Post: Why Leaders Must Feel Pain in the Harvard Business Review:

Dear Peter,

I deeply appreciate your courage for posting this … it’s about damn time people stop trying to “not feel” primary emotions.  Human being are hard-wired to feel emotion.  Our decisions are ultimately driven by emotions.   Leaders make quick, multi-million dollar decisions using intuition.  Intuition comes from the integration of the “low road” and the “high road” as well as information from the outside coming in and information from inside coming  through.

It’s about time corporate America get’s it – we can’t “not feel.”  I’m not talking about dancing naked in the boardroom … I’m talking about integrity. The word “integrity” from the word “integrate” … to integrate who we are into what we do. To do that, we must be willing to integrate our “fragments” into ourselves a whole person. Fragments are a result of the “should’s or “rules of engagement” … Don’t bring your personal life into work. Leave your emotions at the door. Don’t get too close to your employees. Don’t let them see you sweat.

Integration is also the ability to integrate our past into our present and therefore our future ability to make a difference … I believe a pivotal responsibility of effective and sustainable leaders today.

Sixteen years ago, I coined a term “professional intimacy” in an article I wanted to publish. I was told it would be published if I changed the term. I refused and it was never published. I was told that I “shouldn’t” tell people I was incorporate psychology and management or leadership (i.e., self or other awareness, relationship skills or into my coaching or speaking business). Talking about the “soft skills of leadership” was too “touchy-feely” and would “scare clients (mostly male) away.” After spending years of following this advice, I felt exhausted and inauthentic. Now, after 2008, Enron, etc. we are seeing the tipping point.

It’s about time leaders start with the question “Who Am I?” I’m grateful you were willing to speak the truth. I, like you, will continue speak authentically, whether others agree or not.

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About Christina Haxton

CEO & Founder of Sustainable Leadership, Inc. I assist professionals who desire to harness the power of self-awareness, authentic communication and powerful leadership skills to drive positive change from the inside out in order to become exceptional leaders who are built to last.
This entry was posted in creative and leadership, emotional intelligence, emotions, leadership, Leadership Solutions, stress and executives and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Response to Why Leaders Must Feel Pain: It’s really about integrity

  1. Kim Freedman says:

    I was moved by Bergman’s post also and tweeted about it last week (@kimfreedman). I lived through the days of ‘check your feelings at the door’ when I worked in Fortune 500 companies. I am hopeful that things are changing and people can be authentic at work and still be successful.

    • Hi Kim,

      Thank you for responding to the post about the days of “check your feelings at the door.” I’m curious to what extent that rule is still alive and well in Fortune 500 or 100 Companies? It’d be interesting to see of the truly successful “best places to work” of how many subscribe to a transparent and authentic leadership/culture how many actually “walk their talk.” Any ideas?

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