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News & Press: Blog

“People are people, meet them where they are”

17 October 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Abi Walker
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The first presentation on day one of this year’s Agile Business Conference by Lisa Smith, Agile Leader and former Executive at Duke Energy, was really touching, captivating and thought provoking. Lisa’s keynote was titled ‘Agile Leadership: Enabling Business Agility by Unleashing the Unspoken’.

I am an empath, so I would say that I am pretty in touch with my emotions and wear my heart on my sleeve. But to hear a leader talk about the importance of this was especially inspiring, as I have always felt the need to tone down this side of my personality in the workplace. To echo what Lisa said, “people identify with leaders who are and honest and ‘real people’”.


Transformations are emotional

“People are people, meet them where they are” is one of the quotes from Lisa’s session that really stuck with me.

She shared her highs and lows as a leader in an agile environment and detailed the importance of all leaders being open about vulnerabilities as this is what inspires others.

“Transformations should be emotional because you are leading people, not inanimate objects”. Lisa touched on emotional exposure several times – she explained that it’s ok to cry and show passion, “be brave enough to be emotional when you need to be”.



Have you heard of the acronym ICU? The I stands for Initiate, which can be translated as relentless acknowledgement, the C for connect, which can also be seen as soul exposure, and the U for unleash, or unwavering trust. Lisa referred to this as a game changing acronym, as it makes people feel that you’re real.

The lesson from Lisa’s keynote, is that if you lead with your fear and weaknesses, employees will have more respect for you as a leader. Her presentation served as a strong reminder for leaders to be human and show emotion with their team.

Lisa was interested to know who would walk away from the conference and apply what they had learnt. This prompted me to ask several conference attendees what their thoughts on Lisa’s keynote were, and the feedback I received was that her message was very moving. Her honesty and vulnerability really touched a lot of people, including me.

View Lisa’s presentation slides here.

If you’re interested in knowing more about vulnerability in leadership, then you may be interested in registering for our upcoming webinar with Lisa Smith which will discuss this topic more. Further details will be available on our website soon. For updates, sign up to our newsletter.

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