The Howells Group Blog

“Stayin’ Alive?” Move Beyond Surviving to Thriving

I admit it… I lived through the days of disco. Clingy outfits, John Travolta movesand more than enough alcohol. The Bee Gees’ famous song was the anthem played at nearly every gathering.

But simply “stayin’ alive” for today’s leaders isn’t enough. Our series of blogs and posts over the next few months will explore how leaders in our disrupted world must learn a new dance step to go beyond minimal survival and actually thrive.


Stop Being a Hero

Heroic leadership is nothing new in our individualist North American culture. Sports and most forms of entertainment promote the image of one lone exceptional individual who saves the day. Though it may feel inspiring in the Marvel universe, in real life it’s a false narrative 99.9% of the time. First, being the “lone hero” is, well… lonely. When leaders don’t connect with themselves and their own struggles and emotions, they often wall off others creating seriously high risk of mental and emotional burnout.

“Everything from our immune system to our stress response is modulated by our relationships,” states Amy Banks, MD, author and senior Scholar at International Center for Growth in Connection. Amy observes, “When we’re fixated on the idea that to be strong and healthy means we always must stand alone – it’s a very shaky platform at best.”

Since the early 2000’s, the majority of graduates from our Leadership Development Cohorts report that “peer support and sharing” was by far the most important aspect of their growth. Though discussion, relevant content and exercises were rated as effective, having a safe group to be vulnerable with about their everyday challenges was the most transformative to their performance. Realizing you are NOT alone with issues, struggles and failures provides a level of normalization that can’t be underestimated. I read the current US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s book Together during the height of COVID. The author shares both a compelling medical and personal case for genuine human connection as the foundation for human flourishing. Our collective experience working from home has been revealing. Though it’s clearly convenient and not without true benefits, the practice magnified what technology already started. We can be constantly alone and digitally connected but easily cut off from true human connection.

Creating sustainable results as the hero leader is not only ineffective– it’s also dangerous. To continually navigate rapid and constant challenge and change, going it alone is not an option. Social connection that allows for vulnerability and positive connection with others provides both a bridge and a stabilizer for human being; especially those who want to lead well.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>