85: Leaders With Heart Understand That Their Own Brokenness Is A Gift

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Cynthia Grant, Chief Clinical Officer at AllHealth Network, about her surprising and traumatic background, her lens to see the world and to engage with her people, her time when she was not the best leader she could be, and her tremendous tips for leaders.

Key takeaways:

  • Caring for your team is a responsibility.
  • Our past cluttered with adversity can be our biggest gift to our team.
  • As a leader, show others how to be resilient.
  • Shift to a people-first strategy and your business will see the results.
  • Take care of your people in consistent and caring ways.
  • The goal is to never disconnect with your team.
  • Create a culture of connection.
  • Make sure the voices of your people are heard.
  • Allow yourself to care and be authentic even if you might be turned down.
  • Bring your whole self to work.

Just listening to her is inspirational. This episode is gem!

Cynthia Grant, PhD, MBA, LCSW, is the Chief Clinical Officer at AllHealth Network where she leads clinical operations for the AllHealth family with her whole heart. She has been fortunate to be pulled in to leadership roles all of her life. Cynthia is a licensed clinical social worker and is Dare to Lead™ trained—two sides of the same coin in her quest to care and support others in clinical practice and as a leader.

Cynthia was selected as a Denver Business Journal 2019 C-Suite award winner after being nominated by her amazing co-workers. She previously worked in emergency departments, private practice, quality improvement, clinical research, and as a professor of social work and research methodology. She is the proud parent of two young men and is married to a fellow Dare to Lead™ trained traveler, Jonathan Grant.

Real, Authentic, and Trusting

Who I am as a leader is really consistent with who I am in person. Whether I’m at home or at work, I am a very authentic leader. My staffs know that. 

My style is based very much on connection and trust. It’s really important for me to be connected with the people that I work with. I want them to know that they can always come to me. We can put our heads together and figure things out.

My people function autonomously and they know that I give them space to do that. When they hit a roadblock or when they need help, they also know they can come to me. That dynamic of just being yourself when you’re with your people and making sure that it is real, authentic, and trusting is very much who I am.

People have a universal desire to work and to live in a culture that is connected. When we’re disconnected, that’s when we struggle. – Cynthia Grant #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Resilience Amidst Adversity

When I was a child, my parents had a really difficult time.

I didn’t land in my job by accident. There was substance use, mental illness, domestic violence and a lot of neglect of responsibilities by my parents, so much to the point that the Department of Human Services ultimately removed my brother and me from home. 

I watched my parents struggle and figure out how to parent and partner with one another at the same time. There were long periods of instability and unemployment in my family. 

So, my response from a very young age was to step up and to juggle responsibilities: caring for my brother at home, studying in school, and earning a living. I know that my parents were doing the best they could but I have also grieved over the fact that they were not going to be who I needed them to be.

I was able to find a way to be resilient in a face of adversity, and how to channel the struggles that I have into some type of purpose. I learned that if you commit yourself to a role that has meaning and you give it all, then things are going to be okay. 

My past is a representative of my belief in my leadership—a belief on good intentions, and that people are doing the best that they can. When you put your every being into your work, then I really think that we have the best success at leading others.

It’s part of who I am. It’s my background. I cannot undo it and I am probably a better person because of it. It’s part of what makes me who I am.

Titles are not really representative of what we do and who we are. – Cynthia Grant #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Equal Parts

I’ve always believed that the concept of a work-life balance is a little bit of a misnomer, because my work is a part of my life. 

Of course, I like to recharge and spend time with my family, but I also view my work family as an equal part of my life. Because the relationships that I have with my co-workers are almost as important as the relationships that I have with my kids and my husband, I’m very much driven to take care of things at home and at work. 

I feel an incredible responsibility to both. As I have moved up in my field in terms of titles, I’ve felt that to be even truer. My role is to take care of my people so that they can take care of others. That’s a huge driver for me in terms of the responsibility that it carries. 

It has been in my bones for a long time. I’ve been taking care of people, clients coworkers, and organizations, and I am proud of that. 

When you’re truly willing to put your heart, show up and be vulnerable with your ideas, your commitment, and the uncertainties and risks, that means you’re going to get knocked down. – Cynthia Grant #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetI’m still an imperfect leader. I still need to be able to put myself out there. – Cynthia Grant #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetTime and time again, I ask myself: What do I need to learn and understand about myself every time I fall? What do I need to understand better about other people in the room? – Cynthia Grant #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

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