Do you realize that you bring your family to work?

August 3, 2023

Executives are often seen as rational and objective, supposedly making decisions based only on facts and data in the boardroom. However, what many people do not realise is that every leader brings their own personal experiences and family alignment to the conference table, including you! These experiences can have a significant impact on how leaders make decisions and work with others.

As an executive coach, I have had the privilege of guiding many CEOs and CHROs in their own unique way towards more happiness and success over the past few years. I have found that there are six different dimensions that consistently prove to be relevant to focus on. One of them is your family alignment.

We all know that the environment, situation, norms, and/or values in which we were raised can still play an important role in our adult lives, but there are also persistent characteristics and feelings that sometimes seem inexplicable...

Therefore, last year I decided to undertake professional training in family constellations to help my coachees understand why some of their patterns and dynamics continue to repeat themselves, even at work. Being able to provide insight into how to change them permanently not only has a great impact on themselves but also on their (work) environment. Systemic work is a way to gain insight into your own place in a system, whatever system that may be, and your relationship with others in that system.

For example, a female CHRO who grew up in a family where conflicts were avoided may have difficulty with confrontations in the boardroom. She finds it difficult to assert herself and communicate effectively in stressful situations. By understanding the patterns and dynamics of her family system and taking responsibility for her situation, she can work on her weaknesses and become a more effective HR leader.

One of the key benefits of systemic work, in my opinion, is that it enables leaders to recognise their own blind spots and biases. After all, critical feedback is hardly ever received at this level under the motto "Don't bite the hand that feeds you"...

Over the past year, I have done more than 50 constellations as part of my training, which has given me an unprecedented number of new personal insights. If I had had these insights earlier and could have processed them, I am sure I would have been a better CHRO. That is why I have added this dimension to my executive coaching program. Systemic work provides a new perspective and can certainly help increase the happiness and success of leaders.

In addition to exploring the family system, systemic work can also provide more insight into the organisational system in which a leader works. Each organisation has its own unique culture and set of values. It is important for leaders to understand how they fit into this system themselves.

My first new insight during the organisational systems training I am taking this year was that the original founder and his/her ideology-mission are still embedded in an organisational system, even if a company has been around for more than 100 years and has undergone many changes
and culture programs. Interesting!

Overall, systemic work is a powerful tool for any executive who wants to improve their leadership skills and better understand their own thinking and behavior patterns.

Do you want to further develop as a leader or do you want to give that to your management team? My executive coaching program covers six different dimensions that I consider essential for the successful development of every leader. These dimensions are: competencies, limiting beliefs, relationships, energy, family system, and organisation system. For more information, please feel free to send me a DM.

Anne Jaakke
HR ChangeMaker
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