Leadership has often been portrayed as a grand, world-changing endeavor. However, Dr. Maria Church, in her thought-provoking seminar, challenges this notion and introduces the concept of “lollipop moments” as a catalyst for redefining leadership and cultivating meaningful connections. She argues that true leadership isn’t just about monumental changes; it’s about the everyday actions that positively affect people’s lives. She further sheds light on the impacts of fear in the workplace, signs of fear-driven, and introduces a holistic model of leadership rooted in love.
The Power of Lollipop Moments
Through a personal story, Dr. Church illustrates the impact of a seemingly small action. A girl on the edge of giving up on her dreams was encouraged to persevere by an act as simple as handing out lollipops. This idea strongly connects with the audience, prompting Dr. Church to introduce the concept of “lollipop moments” — instances where our words or actions significantly improve someone else’s life. She points out that many lollipop moments go unnoticed and unacknowledged. We often fail to express gratitude to those who have influenced us positively. Drawing a parallel, she questions why we celebrate birthdays, which mark just one day while ignoring the countless lollipop moments that shape us over time.
The Fear Factor
The fear of our own potential power becomes a central theme. Quoting Marianne Williamson, Dr. Church emphasizes that our greatest fear isn’t inadequacy, but rather the realization of our immense influence. She encourages the audience to overcome this fear and recognize their capacity to impact others’ lives.
She urges us to redefine leadership as embracing and creating lollipop moments. She asserts that leadership isn’t about changing the entire world, but about changing one person’s perspective or experience. By valuing these moments, we can beat fear and start a positive ripple effect in society.
600 Lollipop Moments
Drawing from a study, Dr. Church reveals that the average person knows about 600 individuals. This statistic highlights the vast potential for creating lollipop moments and fostering connections. She then shifts the focus to the pervasive influence of fear in today’s society. She highlights the disturbing numbers of individuals affected by violent incidents. The constant exposure to fear-driven news has numbed us to its effects, causing us to lose touch with our values and what truly matters. In a world overwhelmed by fear and violence, she encourages individuals to seize the opportunity to create lollipop moments and be the change.
Signs of a Fear-Based Workplace
Dr. Church points out some telltale signs of a fear-based workplace, drawing from an article published in Bloomberg. These signs indicate an environment driven by fear rather than collaboration and growth:
1) Appearances Over Everything: Employees focus more on the image they project to superiors than on the stakeholders’ interests.
2) Rising and Falling: Conversations revolve around who’s in and who’s out of the inner circle, reflecting a political atmosphere.
3) Distrust Reigns: Suspicion and distrust infiltrate relationships among colleagues and between employees and leaders.
4) Numbers Rule: Metrics and data take precedence over an individual’s intrinsic value and contributions.
5) Numbers Rule in the Thousands: Excessive bureaucracy and procedural red tape hinder decision-making and efficiency.
She adds to this that while for some of us, fear may appear to motivate, it has hidden costs: eroded trust and loyalty, increased turnover, and suppressed innovation. Fear-driven leadership may yield short-term results, but the long-term consequences are detrimental. Because distrust and lack of loyalty corrode the fabric of an organization, ultimately hindering growth.
Amidst the chaos and challenges of today’s world, Dr. Church highlights an encouraging awakening. She references the Dalai Lama’s statement that Western women have the power to save the world. This pivotal moment offers an opportunity to redefine leadership and shift towards a path illuminated by hope, light, and love.
The Holistic Leadership Model
Dr. Church proposes a holistic model of leadership centered around the concept of love. This is not mere sentimentality; it’s a profound recognition of the value, worth, and interconnectedness of every individual. model is built on three pillars:
1) Love of Self:
Leadership begins with self-love. Embracing our worth and wholeness allows us to lead authentically. By valuing our own well-being and growth, we set an example for others to do the same. Self-love fosters resilience, compassion, and a genuine connection with those we lead.
2) Love of Source:
Dr. Church highlights the term “source” as a universal force that transcends religious boundaries. Regardless of individual beliefs, this source represents an essence that binds us to something larger than ourselves. By tapping into this vital life force, we awaken creativity, tenacity, and a sense of being part of a greater whole.
Cultivating love for the source, the foundation of our being, enables us to tap into our innate wisdom and intuition. Connecting with our source empowers us to make decisions that align with our values and contribute to a positive work environment. This connection to something greater strengthens our sense of purpose and direction.
The love of the source is nurtured through practices that foster connection and replenishment. Dr. Church emphasizes the role of activities like meditation, journaling, hiking, and practicing gratitude serve as channels for tapping into this source and rekindling one’s creative flame.
3) Love of Others:
The ultimate expression of leadership is love for others. This goes beyond hierarchical roles and focuses on the mutual respect, care, and support we extend to colleagues, subordinates, and superiors. Dr. Church explores the transformative nature of forgiveness within the context of love for others. While forgiveness may be challenging, it’s a liberating experience that unburdens the heart and mind. Drawing from personal experience, she narrates how embracing forgiveness freed her from anger, negativity, and even health issues.
Leading with love not only fosters personal growth but also cultivates a thriving workplace. When leaders create an environment of trust, compassion, and forgiveness, they pave the way for innovation to flourish. By tapping into the power of love and forgiveness, organizations can break free from fear-based paradigms, allowing creativity to thrive and individuals to flourish.
The 18-Inch Journey: Heart to Head
The initial step towards leading with love involves bridging the 18-inch gap from the heart to the head. Merging heart-centered feelings with rational thinking cultivates an unstoppable force. Dr. Church underscores the significance of intuition, a powerful tool often overlooked in corporate environments. Balancing intuition with tangible data enables leaders to make informed decisions while staying attuned to their inner wisdom. It’s in this harmonious union that true leadership potential emerges, transforming intentions into impactful actions.
Amidst circumstances beyond our control, our attitude remains within our realm of choice. And the ability to shape our attitude, even in the face of adversity, reflects our power as leaders to navigate challenges with resilience and grace. Dr. Church introduces the concept of mental models, the lenses through which we view the world. These models, shaped by our experiences, significantly influence our perceptions. Through perception shifting, we can intentionally choose to view situations from different angles, broadening our understanding and enhancing communication.
Ba: The Japanese Concept of Energized Working Space
Nonaka and Nishiguchi’s research unveils the concept of “ba” – a term encompassing the notion of an energized space that fosters innovation. They identified four cultural pillars (i.e., love, care, trust, and compassion) that are prerequisites for ba and innovation to flourish. They form the foundation of a workplace culture that encourages creativity, collaboration, and breakthrough ideas.
Dr. Church emphasizes that these four elements are more than just organizational buzzwords – they are powerful drivers of positive change. By prioritizing love, care, trust, and compassion, organizations can transform into nurturing environments where individuals feel valued, respected, and inspired to contribute their best work.
In conclusion, Dr. Maria Church challenges the prevalent culture of fear by presenting a new paradigm of leadership rooted in love. The signs of a fear-based workplace are obvious, but the opportunity for change is equally profound. By embracing self-love, connecting with our source, and fostering love for others, we can pave the way for a brighter, more compassionate future. As agents of this transformation, we have the power to redefine leadership, shape organizational culture, and contribute to a world driven by hope, light, and love.
Drawing inspiration from Gandhi’s words, Dr. Church emphasizes that we can be the change we wish to see in the world. By embracing love, care, trust, and compassion, we become channels for positive transformation. And love is not only a powerful force for personal growth but also a catalyst for innovation, compassion, and positive change in the workplace.
Maria is a local government and corporate alum with Fortune 500 experience, and academia adventures that constitute a treasure trove of colorful experiences over 20 years. With a doctorate of management in organizational leadership, Maria works with local governments to create workplaces that attract and retain the best talent. Yes, she is the author of Love-Based Leadership: The Model for Leading with Strength, Grace, and Authenticity – and no, it is not a book about Kumbaya, puppies, kittens, or rainbows. Her latest book, A Course in Leadership: 21 Spiritual Lessons on Power, Love, and Influence was released in June 2021. Maria is a classic rock and Motown junkie who hopes to learn drums from Keith Moon and Benny Benjamin in Rock-N-Roll Heaven.