Leadership and Intimacy

When I first wrote the topic, I said to myself, “sounds weird” but “sounds interesting” I bet you may think the same. So what is with Leadership and intimacy? Leadership is associated with vision, achievement of goals, Leader is supposed to be this person who motivates teams to perform at their highest potential.

So what is with Intimacy and Leadership?

In my experience of coaching and connecting with leaders, I observed three types of behaviors in Leaders associated with self intimacy and having intimate conversations with others (By Intimate I mean ability to pick on things that are close to heart and matter the most). Let me enlist these three types;

  1. Some Leaders don’t believe that it can hurt- They are in complete denial that such parts existed in them and in others. They are happy with the top view. They push for results and also achieve them most of the times. Their vision is tunneled.
  2. Second type of Leaders know that they have parts that hurt and others have parts that hurt- They just ignore it, thinking “let’s move on”. They lack courage and competence to handle human discomfort and awkwardness. They talk about working collaboratively but unwittingly end up pushing self on others for results and feel guilty about it.
  3. Third type of Leaders are tuned in intimately with themselves and others emotions. They were not scared to show their tears and to look in the eye of the other and talk about things that are uncomfortable but important for the team and the business.

As you may have guessed by now, I am here to talk about the third type. Although the first and the second type form a majority in corporate scenarios, the third type is the one who creates authentic connection and intimate experience of inspiration. Also the third type is of particular interest to me as it is the New age Leadership consciousness.

What is special about the third type of Leader?

The third type of leader inherently possesses following traits:

  1. Courage to confront self and others – name what is present for self and the other.
  2. Deeper listening skills, genuine curiosity.
    • Listening to self talk
    • Listening to the other
    • Being fully present to the context
  3. Catching Self in time from putting things under the carpet.
  4. Fourth and last but not the least, this person has been on a journey to self awareness, and knows that, this journey is never reached. This person works on self all the time.

Let us understand, how this leader impacts a business?

This Leader possesses a quality of presence that allows people to “be”, and listens into their being without judgement. This Leader knows, the needs of self and of his people. He gathers this information and connection during his coffee table conversations. This leader will connect with you as a human and as an employee or co-worker. The questions that this leader would ask you would be like,

“What would you have, if you were able to achieve this target?”

“What do you think the management needs?”, ” What do you need?”,  “I wonder if there is connection between the two needs?”

“I am feeling a deep sense of failure as a Leader, when I see the results. I am wondering what is happening for you?”

“There are two people in our department whom I have handed over promotion letters. You have been in this department much longer, and haven’t received a letter this year. Is there something you feel we need to talk about?”

“I know your wife is in the hospital, and you still had to leave her side today and come here for the presentation, when I called. I am feeling sad and helpless about the situation, I just didn’t know what to do, you are the backbone of this project? Do you have a suggestion how we could have handled this better?”

“I heard that you are pregnant, It is good news, I want a party. But also a part of me is worried about our promos that are due in next six months. Would you like to rework the marketing schedule and travel as per your possible due dates and also suggest how the project continue to unfold smoothly until to come back from maternity leave? I would like you to have a healthy and pleasant time.”

With authentic and sensitive conversations like this the Leader is able to create a container in which the team flourishes and collaborates with the Leader on difficult situations. This Leader doesn’t think of a extraordinary strategy to ward off uncomfortable conversations in the cabin. He/ She is just living every minute and creating collaboratively the current reality based on what is present in the moment. Thus tapping into the current potential energy of the organisation fully, this creates a better future and a vision which is not distant but exists in the present moment.

The speed at which the transformation thus occurs should be phenomenal, I believe that this leader creates a organisation, which grows organically. In such organisations, Goals, Values and Visions are rooted and yet constantly evolving as they are alive. The Leader lives them and works with them.

To sum it all up, The third type of leader is intimate with self aliveness/ emotional energy every moment, this leader makes the others intimately touch what is alive in them and then creates a transformational energy circuit or network  through clear communication, that fuels the forward movement of the organisation.



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