The Positive Energy Workplace

Bonus Article! Are You Trick or Treating? A 5-Point Guide to Congruent Leadership

We launched my latest book, THE LEADER YOU WILL BE: An Invitation, last week in Ann Arbor, MI. Our gracious host? The fabulous Zingerman’s Roadhouse.  

We launched my latest book, THE LEADER YOU WILL BE: An Invitation, last week in Ann Arbor, MI. Our gracious host? The fabulous Zingerman’s Roadhouse.  

 Anese Cavanaugh and Ari Weinzweig

The venue was lovely, the food delicious, the people — always my favorite part. Ari Weinzweig gave the book a gracious kickoff with a heartfelt introduction. It couldn’t have been more fitting. After 10 years collaborating with Zingerman’s, these guys KNOW me and the IEP work well and have integrated it beautifully for themselves.  


One of the things I talked about, given the content of the book and Halloween being around the corner at the time, were five domains to consider in the land of authenticity and congruent leadership. 


In the spirit of this week’s holiday, these points were dedicated to “trick” — leading inauthentically and wearing a mask, or “treating” — leading congruently, no mask, just YOU.


For the people who attended the book launch live, thank you. For those reading this, thank you. Hope y’all had a Happy Halloween and that whatever “masks” you wear, this week and beyond, that they serve you and your impact.


“Trick” or “Treat”?


As we walk the world we’re generally in one of two energetic states; inauthentic or authentic; contracted or expanded; incongruent or congruent; in persona or real; trick or treating


We generally feel it, people usually sense it (even if they’re not perfectly clear what they’re sensing), and it impacts every interaction.


The energetic state we’re leading and relating in has a big impact on our presence and the effect we have on others. It also effects our own energy and stamina, and ultimately the result we get in anything we do. And, it’s contagious. So we can easily set the tone for more of the same with those around us.


Contracted, fake, “proving it,” pretending to be something we’re not, forcing connection? These are generally exhausting states. Not to mention ineffective for building trust and connection. 


Expansive, real, present, in service of, genuine, and connected? These are all generative states. And essential for building trust and connection.


The trick is how do we know where we’re at? Sometimes it’s obvious  we can feel it, but often, when life is moving fast or we’re under stress, it’s easy to slip into unconscious states and into “survival” mode. 


So, I have a treat for you. In my work with business leaders, there are several domains we sort for when looking at energetic presence. The bottom line? Are you creating resistance or responsiveness with your presence? Are you an invitation or a repellent? Awareness is power, once we have it, we’re at choice to shift it.


Here are five areas to look. All require a pause and a breath to just NOTICE where you’re at. Ready? 


  • Guardrail One, Your Energy: If tricking, energy will be tight, contracted, and forced. If treating, it will be more spacious, easy, and flowing.
  • Guardrail Two, Your Intention: If tricking, you may be trying to prove, pretend, or protect something; perhaps nervous or fearful. If treating, there’s no need to prove, pretend, or protect, you’re just you. Nothing to be proven, it just is. (Besides, our foibles make us human; human makes us connected, and connection is love — the more I can give, the more I get.)
  • Guardrail Three, Your Focus: If tricking, the focus is likely on external factors and ego driven; What do they think of me? What can I get? What’s in it for me? (Some external motivator that may relate to #2.) When treating, focus is often more on internally driven factors and being in service of a bigger picture; your “why,” your purpose, being in service of.
  • Guardrail Four, The Cost/Benefit: Tricking is energetically exhausting and not sustainable. It’s hard to keep it up. Treating though? Really connecting and just being you? That tends to be more generative. (After all, you can be YOU all day long.) Without pretenses, proving it, the stories we tell ourselves that don’t serve, and the contraction in our system that comes from all of it — a ton of energy frees up. (No kidding try it for 24 hours.)
  • Guardrail Five, The Ultimate Impact: Tricking? I’ll bet you already know. When we’re tricking, we don’t get to have truly authentic connected real relationships. And from inauthentic relationships, comes limited leadership, less inspiration, and carefulness. Not great for innovating or making magic on this planet with our wares. But treating? We get to have messy relationships, true intimacy, true connection, and therefore, leadership that sustains, grows, and inspires others to show up. 


What would you rather from those around you? And what would you rather for yourself?


Whatever you choose, do it with consciousness and intention, and make it rich and real  this is your one beautiful life.


To showing up  so real and in service of  people can’t help but follow. /AXC


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