My kind of leader

I am listening to Krista Tippett interview Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General of the USA, and I am thinking I want more leaders like Murthy.  Yes, he is Surgeon General, a renowned physician, and a research scientist, but what caught my attention is his interest in human connection, the importance of love, and how I felt listening to him.

When talking about his interest in human connection and what he referred to as the loneliness epidemic, Murthy referred to four healing strategies: 

  1. Given we are wired for human connection, connect with others every day. In ways that work for you…In person, phone, text. 
  2. Give people your full attention when you talk to them.
  3. Find opportutnies to serve. This will deepen your connection to yourself and to others.
  4. Take time for solitude. Yes. Let the noise around you settle.

Much of what Murthy is talking about is emotional intelligence.  As someone who has taught and facilitated in that area for close to 25 years, I appreciate how the concepts of self-connection, connection to others, knowing the impact of our behaviours on others, and service are becoming more mainstream. 

Then there’s his focus on love, so clearly demonstrated in this except from his book Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World.

May you inhabit a world that puts people at the center, where everyone feels they belong. Where compassion is universal, and kindness exchanged with whole-hearted generosity for all. The most important thing we
wish for you is a life filled with love -love that is given and received with a full heart. Love is at the heart of living a connected life. Choose love, we tell you. Always.

This focus on love resonates and connects me to a favourite memory of facilitating with Lillas over the past many years.  She liked to wrap up our leadership retreats by reading a passage from The Leadership Challenge by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.

Of all the things that sustain a leader overtime, love is the most lasting. It's hard to imagine leaders getting up day after day putting in the long hours and hard work it takes to make extraordinary things happen, without having their hearts in it. The best kept secret of successful leaders is love: staying in love with leading, with the people who do the work, with what their organisations provide, and with those who honor the organization by using its products and services.   

Leadership is not an affair of the head.  Leadership is an affair of the heart. 

This was one of Lillas’s gifts, to be in, to be love. Leaders like Vivek Murthy, and Lillas, stir my hope for the possibility of a kinder and gentler world.

I was noticing how I felt, listening to Murthy, and it brought to mind a favourite Maya Angelou quote.

Related Notes: 

I love Krista’s interviews and guests. If you haven’t listened to her On Being podcasts, I suggest you check them out. Here’s the recent one with Vivek Murthy.

Apparently, Murthy took his oath as Surgeon General on the Bhagavad Gita.  It has been some time since I have read a translation of this beautiful Hindu sacred text.  So, I pulled my copy of Eknath Easwaran’s translation off my library shelf, my favourite translation, and started to read.  

We are so missing Lillas, if you haven’t read the post about her passing, you can do so here. It is with a tender heart.

If the topic of emotional intelligence interests you as much as it has us and our clients, check out some of our posts: Women, Emotional Intelligence and Leadership, Connection: starts with listening, deepens with empathy, Want to build your emotional courage? Feel into your discomfort., Want to Build Your Emotional Agility? Lean into your discomfort, Quick Renewal: HeartMath and there’s more!!!

After I posted this piece, my friend Chandra sent me a link to Thrive Choir’s version of It Time Now. What a gorgeous song, with the perfect words to accompany this post.. We shall learn to lead in love.