1759 – The Essence of Heart-Centered Leadership with Deborah Crowe

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Certified Life & Leadership Coach, Deb Crowe.

Crowe wide

Deb defines heart-centered leadership as honoring your connection with people. She firmly believes that everyone has the potential to be a leader, regardless of their title or status.

Deb explained that thriving leaders possess high self-awareness and model heart-centered leadership. She emphasized the importance of looking after your people and fostering a healthy organizational culture.

Deb talked about her insights on the state of leading people and what people want today. She underscored the importance of checking in with introverts on the team and creating a safe space for open communication.

According to Deb, leadership belongs to all of us in our personal lives and business. She emphasizes the importance of integrating heart-centered leadership into business acumen, something she believes has been missing for a long time.

She emphasizes that she coaches the whole person and focuses on creating goals and achieving them without creating codependency.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Importance of kindness and connection in leadership
  • State of leading people in today's world
  • Challenges and considerations of remote work and employee engagement
  • The definition of heart-centered leadership as honoring connection with people
  • Thriving as a leader and imbuing heart-centered qualities
  • Evolution of corporate wellness and looking after the whole person
  • Importance of checking in with introverts and creating a safe space for communication
  • Every leader should read Deb's book on heart-centered leadership
  • Transformation leaders can expect from reading the book
  • Deb's work as a life and leadership coach for executives at all levels

About Deborah Crowe:

Deborah Crowe, author of “The Heart-Centered Leadership Playbook,” is a visionary leader reshaping the traditional leadership landscape.

Deborah's transformative guide offers practical tools and strategies to inspire purposeful and passionate leadership at both individual and organizational levels.

Praised by Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer at VaynerMedia, and Dr. Chris Stout, bestselling author and clinical psychologist, Deborah's playbook combines personal anecdotes, research-backed insights, and practical strategies.

It illuminates a path toward authentic leadership, challenging conventional norms with valuable tools and self-reflections that nurture genuine self-awareness.

Deborah's book delves into the significance of embracing vulnerability, active listening, and fostering meaningful connections to unlock the true potential of leaders and their teams.

Drawing on extensive research, real-world examples, and personal experiences, she provides a comprehensive roadmap for cultivating self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and ethical decision-making.

“The Heart-Centered Leadership Playbook” is a must-read for aspiring leaders, seasoned executives, and anyone seeking positive change in their personal and professional lives. Deborah's work reflects a commitment to redefining leadership through heart-centered principles, making her a trailblazer in transformative leadership.

Tweetable Moments:

02:53 – “They know who they are because they have an immeasurable level of self-awareness. Who wouldn't want to work for somebody like that? A heart-centered leader at the helm of any organization is fostering the creation of a healthy, vital culture.”

16:43 – ” I think during COVID, we got to see how we all became zombies on computers and our phones, and we were kind of stuck at home, and it was important to get up.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, it's life and leadership coach, speaker, author, podcast founder and host, and CEO of Devil Consulting and College Professor, it's Deb Crowe. Deb, thank you so much for joining us.

Deb (00:01:13) - Oh, Josh, thanks so much for having me.

Josh (00:01:15) - And congratulations on the launch of your new book, The Heart Centered Leadership Playbook How to Master the Art of Heart in Life and Leadership.

Josh (00:01:25) - Deb, I feel like this is a perfect book for this audience, so I'm so grateful that we managed to get connected somehow. Well, in your words, I'd love to have you share just a bit about the work that you do today.

Deb (00:01:36) - Absolutely. So I've been in the leadership space for 33 years, so I obviously was very young when I started wink wink. I really love being in the leadership space because, Josh, I believe that everybody in the world is a leader in their own right. I don't think that you need to have a stature or a title or initials after your name. I firmly believe that everyone has the ability to be kind, and that's the premise of my definition of heart centered leadership, which is honoring your connection with people.

Josh (00:02:11) - When some of us, I think kindness was taught to us, it was modeled to us. And it's just a part of who we live and, you know, feel like that's I got a lot of that growing up, you know, and I look at like, for example, our internal team, it was interesting.

Josh (00:02:26) - I was having a conversation with someone else about turnover. I'm like, I haven't lost an employee in like over two years. Like my people that have all been with me. I mean, they've been with us a long time and I'm so grateful for that because now they've got so much experience. And man, I didn't mean to start kind of coming in here too, in my own horn. I guess the question is, how does someone thrive as a leader and not imbue those qualities today?

Deb (00:02:53) - They know who they are because they have an immeasurable level of self awareness. And great example that you gave when they model heart centered leadership, who wouldn't want to work for somebody like that? A heart centered leader at the helm of any organization is fostering the creation of a healthy, vital culture. So kudos to you for retention of staff, because that is the number one problem globally with a lot of organizations.

Josh (00:03:21) - Yeah, and it's interesting too. And I've had this conversation about what because there's been a lot of movement.

Josh (00:03:27) - And I think there's been a lot of turbulence over the past few years regards to, you know, attracting and retaining great teams. Can I just give you the floor and let you give maybe like a little mini Ted talk on the state of the Union of where we are in regards to leading people and what people want today?

Deb (00:03:44) - Oh, absolutely. And, you know, it's probably going to be a conversation that you're not expecting, which is always fun. I used to be in the medical rehab world. I was a neurotrauma case manager. So corporate wellness and this is going to kind of provide context to my answer. Corporate wellness used to be mitigating and managing short term disability claims. You didn't really look after your staff until somebody got sick, you know, or they got cancer. Or maybe they needed an external bit of time off, a longer maternity leave, whatever it was. Now, corporate wellness post-Covid, because we're we're now in kind of a trifecta of in-office hybrid remote. Everybody has a little bit of each one.

Deb (00:04:32) - Corporate wellness is on the forefront of leadership, meaning you have to look after your people in the present moment check ins, making sure your introverts are okay. Why did you choose hybrid? Why do you want to work remote and realize that KPIs aren't going to go any higher along with any of your other metrics or numbers? Because you want bums back in the seat? Because you have this extrinsic expenditure of your office expense. People are thriving at home because they have quality of life. They have a balance of work life integration, not work life balance, work life integration, especially if they are hybrid or remote. So when you're looking after people in the forefront, which really is the present every day, you don't have to worry about the other end because corporate wellness is about whole wellness. Looking after the whole person and changing the languaging of KPIs in heart centered leadership speak, which for me is kindness promotes improvement. So when you look after your people, they're going to stay. That is now the definition of corporate wellness.

Josh (00:05:45) - Can you share just a bit more about what it means to, quote unquote like look after our people, like how might that be manifested? Or what would be some examples of maybe leaders that you've profiled that you see that have done this pretty well?

Deb (00:05:58) - You know, a really popular one is checking in with the introverts on their team. They are the secret sauce to every organization. They're so undervalued because they're not verbose. They're not communicative, expressive. Their thought leadership's deep and wide. You can have very interesting conversations in their comfort zone, which is this 1 to 1. So instead of saying, hey, Josh, how are you doing? Hey, Josh, how are you feeling today? What's on your plate? Anything I can help you with, any barriers, anything you want to talk about? You don't wait to kind of. You know, I'm a farm person. From being a young girl. You don't wait till the gates open and all the cattle goes out. Be the gatekeeper and be the manager of the corporate wellness from a heart centered approach to make sure and ensure that all of your staff is doing well and not waiting for something negative to happen to act so you're kind of being that whole heart centered leader looking after your people.

Deb (00:07:04) - And the check ins are great. I don't want to know how you're doing because the default answer is, oh, Deb, I'm fine. How are you feeling? Anything going on at home? Is there a barrier to getting your work done? How's your to do list? They already know what you're going through, what's on your plate because they're higher up the ladder than you. So being able to have self awareness maybe come down a little bit to revisit where you once were and know with everything that's changed in the last three years, what do we need to talk about? What do I need to lean in and ask? And it's the leader's role to ask the good questions for the check in and to step in. And sometimes people don't know how to ask because they're afraid they're going to be reprimanded on their next annual review. So these are all these hidden talents that heart centered leaders manage really well, and it's almost using and tapping into their intuition, which they use very well. And I speak about this, Josh, for a whole chapter in my book because there's tons of research on it.

Deb (00:08:07) - Don't wait for your staff to come. If you have a gut feeling that somebody's going off the rails, or another staff member came and said, hey, I'm kind of concerned about this person, do the right thing and be that heart centered leader and do the check in and do whatever you need to do so that the corporate wellness stays intact.

Josh (00:08:25) - Yeah, I love that. Any considerations step I'm sure there are for teams that are remote. You know, whether the top level leadership loves it or not. This is just, you know, whether it's hybrid or entirely remote. It is just what it is. I love reading articles. There was just a big one about Dropbox thing, as it were. Like, when we're recording this, I think Dropbox like offered to buy out a $73 million real estate just so they could close it and sell it off because their employees don't want to come back into the office. And and they're taking the gamble on. Okay, well, we're going to stay primarily remote.

Deb (00:09:01) - So it's taking the focus off the location and putting the focus back into and stabilizing and honing employee engagement. So stop persevering on who's got a bum in their cubicle versus at home versus remote versus hybrid. Am I managing the employee engagement to the point where everybody is feeling valued, seen, heard and validated?

Josh (00:09:30) - Yeah. Can I ask you this? I'm curious if you've ever had this conversation or kind of what your advice is. Let's say you have a leader who says, you know, I feel like I take pretty good care of our people. And, you know, that's kind of part of our culture. But sometimes it's the founder or the leader. I don't know that I get a lot of that back, you know? And I'm like, I'm a person too. You know, it's like, you know, sometimes the phrase, I don't know what it is like in other cultures, but I wonder I think modeling praise down is always the right thing to do. And I wonder if there are other leaders that question that like I do is like, well, if I'm not getting like, how can I get more love or just appreciation back? Because I think everyone wants that.

Josh (00:10:11) - Everyone wants to know that what they do matters. Yeah.

Deb (00:10:16) - You know what? It comes down. I'm also a yoga teacher. It also comes down to self awareness. And so the C-suite that I deal with are super lonely. They're at the top. Everybody's waiting for their job. They find other ways to fill that void so that they can model the level of confidence and leadership, visionary leadership, transformational leadership, because they're driving the ship like they're carrying the helm. And what a lot of people don't recognize is maybe they don't want to have those accolades because they have such a tremendous amount of responsibility and really the fiduciary responsibility of running that company and making. Sure everyone's getting paid. It comes with so much heavy that I always coach them not to look for that. And that's where they have to have balance in their lives with families and hobbies and other things. Because the leader is who they are. The leadership is what they provide, and there has to be boundaries between the two, even though they're synonymous.

Deb (00:11:19) - But not getting your emotional value or your emotional concentration, if you will, for that feedback to come from that area. Because when a ships run well and it continues to run well, that's that leader's feedback.

Josh (00:11:36) - Yeah. Okay, good, I love it. The new book, The Heart Centered Leadership Playbook, it's available. And by the way, Deb, your website is Deb Crowe. And so if you go to Deb and that's Crowe with an E, you can link it right off to Amazon, Barnes and Noble or everywhere else. But tell me about who. Ooh I'm a big it's on Kindle. I'm getting it right now. Bam. Done. All right. Who should be reading this book other than Josh Elledge?

Deb (00:12:05) - Every leader. And that's why I wrote the book. Leadership belongs to all of us. We're all leaders in our life. We're all leaders in business. And I want to bring heart centered leadership into business acumen, because I think it's been missing for a very long time.

Josh (00:12:20) - Yeah. And what would the transformation that you would expect. So a leader buys a book, goes to it, takes notes, does some reflective thinking and note taking and maybe make some plans. What would you expect that transformation. What kind of transformation might they experience?

Deb (00:12:37) - So the feedback that I've got is it's one third memoir, because I have to show you how I became a heart centered leader. It's one third research and real case studies from leaders and organizations that I work with globally. And then the last third is all my original heart centered, leadership work, heart centered leadership model. So I'm not just teaching you and showing you there's actually instruction and actionable steps to take. So you're going to walk away and you'll be able to put this into play in your life and in your leadership right away.

Josh (00:13:13) - Yeah. Deb, tell me about the work that you do outside of the book.

Deb (00:13:19) - So I coach executives at all levels, and I love using the term executive because leaders at all levels, from management all the way up to C-suite, will always say two things to me.

Deb (00:13:31) - Do you think I'm an executive? Can we do some life coaching? I coach the whole person. So executive to me, it's not a stature, it's a feeling, it's an accomplishment. But I work with leaders at all different levels, and it's really hard to have one description of the coaching that I do because different sectors use different titles, different roles, different responsibilities.

Josh (00:13:58) - Yeah. And then when you are coaching, what does that typically look like?

Deb (00:14:02) - So I'm usually with a team I do a lot of group coaching within different departments. If I'm in a large organization or I'll coach with the executive team and then one on one with the C-suite, and I'm usually with them for a minimum of six months, sometimes depending if we're doing multiple projects or we have multiple goals, it'll be more than that. But I don't believe in creating codependency, and it's important to me that we have those goals while we're coaching.

Josh (00:14:32) - Yeah. I also want to point out that you are a podcaster. Your podcast is called Imperfect The Heart Centered Leadership Podcast.

Josh (00:14:41) - Why did you call it imperfect?

Deb (00:14:43) - Because seven weeks into Covid, my conversations with all my sea suites were like, what the hell do I tell my people? And we got into a great conversation about imperfection, being authentic, being vulnerable. You tell them what you know, when you know it, and when you get more information, you'll share it. So they had to be vulnerable. And we got talking about imperfection. And after eight weeks of it, I was like, I need to start a podcast. So we're now on season four and I've interviewed 50 leaders.

Josh (00:15:18) - I know you recently passed over episode 250, so congratulations. That's that's exciting. That's a lot of conversations.

Deb (00:15:25) - It's a lot of conversations. And, you know, honoring that connection and having meaningful conversation just like you and I are doing. It's just something that I enjoy doing.

Josh (00:15:35) - Yeah. Excellent. All right. So Deb let's go through. Obviously there's the book. Go snag it right now. Follow my example. It's again the heart centered leadership playbook how to master the art of heart in life and leadership.

Josh (00:15:51) - It's on Kindle. It's on paperback. You can get it on Amazon and everywhere else. Debits also on your website. Deb Crow with an E at the end. There's a link to your podcast. But what else would you recommend someone that's been listening to our conversation like, I want more, Deb.

Deb (00:16:06) - You know, I try and write my daily blog. I have to be imperfect and say, I fell off the blogging wagon because I was writing my book to get it done. If I give any advice to anybody, it wouldn't be necessarily to add anything else to their plate. It would be to ensure that they take some self care. That's probably the number one thing I talk about daily taking some time for yourself, whatever that looks like. Getting up from your desk, going for a walk, putting that white space in your calendar if that's one kind of action item they take away from our conversation, it's a great place to start.

Josh (00:16:39) - Yeah. Can I ask why that's so vital and necessary?

Deb (00:16:43) - Because I think during Covid we got to see how we all became zombies on computers and our phones, and we were kind of stuck at home and it was important to get up.

Deb (00:16:54) - And even if you were walking from your, you know, your bedroom, which was your office at the time, to the kitchen, it was important to get outside. It's important to keep our mental health clear, to get up from our desk, get some physical movement. We get stuck in a rut at our desks and that just breeds complacency. It fosters procrastination. We need to have white space. We need to get up. We need to move. We need to hydrate and just get off these devices.

Josh (00:17:26) - Awesome. Deb Crowe again CEO, life and leadership coach, speaker, author, podcast founder and host, and a college professor to boot. Deb, your website is Deb Crowe. Deb, it's been wonderful having you. Thank you so much for joining us.

Deb (00:17:41) - Oh, thanks, Josh, it was great to talk to you today.

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