55: Leaders With Heart Hold Space To Truly Connect With Their People

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer at VaynerMedia, about her leadership style, the unique ways she engages with her team, how her “real” way of leading grows those around her and much more. She is someone you’d want to sit and talk with for a lifetime. Don’t miss this.

Key Takeaways:

  • Everything is about relationships and connection.
  • Introduce 10 random employees to new ones so they get a sense of who you are.
  • We all have brokenness. While it’s not good to live in that space all the time, it’s important to show different sides of you to your people to build deep trust.
  • Be accountable for how you show up to your people.
  • In the moment when we show our humanity, the beauty and the richness are there.
  • Have the tough conversations; look yourself in the mirror too.
  • Connection is the end all-and creates trusts and anything is possible with trust.
  • Listen, Listen, Listen.
  • Be radically transparent.

After nearly 20 years at numerous Fortune 50 companies, Claude Silver has finally found her home as VaynerMedia’s Chief Heart Officer. She is passionate is creating spaces for people to thrive in through the culture of empathy. Her success in guiding client relationships, global brand strategies, operations, and management can attest to that.

She is in constant quest to discover new ways to hold space for people and bring growth opportunities to them with professional growth workshops, and corporate team-building sessions. She knows she doesn’t have all the answers, but she is committed in helping her people find their own. For Claude, this is her life’s work. 

Strength through Accountability

I had to go and be accountable for who I had showed up as and who I know I am. By no means am I a perfect leader or a perfect human. 

I think, in the moment of challenge, weakness or vulnerability is the strength. That is the key, and also taking the accountability and coming into terms with the fact that I, too, have bad days. I, too, have really uncomfortable moments. I, too, am dumbfounded sometimes, but I get up and I have to go back again.

I am who I am. What you see is what you get, and the most wonderful and most generous thing that life is bringing me right now is an opportunity to share what I’ve learned along the way and my DNA– what comes to me naturally.

Connection for me is the beginning, middle and end. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Fallible, Emotional and Human

With trust, anything is possible. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

I remember I publicly “fought” with another member of the C-suite. We had much more than a debate and I chose to be a human being in that moment—fallible and emotional rather than a leader. 

It was more than a disagreement than yelling but it was not cool. I know my job is to hold space for every single person here and set an example. But getting into a fight with another was not the way I want to show up every single day.

I immediately cooled off for a second and I got my team later on that afternoon. I let them know that that was my fault. I need to act much more like a parent when I’m at work and anything that I am having a hard time with needs to go behind closed doors. 

That conversation was one that did not need to be aired in public and it was something that I could have stopped at any moment. I just said, “You know what, I’m just going to go, have this conversation in the bedroom.”

It was a few years ago and it’s funny that he and I are very, very good friends now. But we needed that moment and I needed to then go apologize to him.

Connecting and Listening

Connecting as a human being is letting them know where I am, where I have been, and why I haven’t I shared this bit of information until today, or whatever it is. Connection for me is the beginning, middle and end, which creates trust. 

With trust, anything is possible. I feel like we can now start to let down our guards, let each other in and become fallible and vulnerable. 

With connection and trust, I do things that I feel like, “Will it increase the level of trust and connection?” Sometimes that is even like asking someone to get involved in a project with me. I want to let them in and I want to share.

Intention is everything. Size doesn't matter. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

I think listening is really hard so I would highly suggest it. I would also suggest asking open-ended questions so that you can glean from what that person really has to say rather than a ‘yes-or-no’ question. 

I used the term ‘holding space’ quite a bit because it’s really being with that person in a non-judgmental way. Being radically real, radically human, transparent, vulnerable and grateful I think goes a very long way, so I would deploy as much EQ as you possibly could to get back on that horse if you fall off. 

That also means saying thank you and making sure that that person feels recognized by you—anything from a high five, an email, a wink or whatever it is.

I'm here to hold space, to be of service and to take action. #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetBy no means am I a perfect leader or a perfect human. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

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