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  • Writer's pictureThrive Inc.

Congruent Leadership

We’re continuing on our Beauty of Conflict for Teams season this week, and today we’re talking about congruent and incongruent leadership. You know that leader who looks good, sounds good and says all the right things, but something still feels amiss? It’s likely they’re being incongruent.

We can all be incongruent sometimes – and often, we don’t even realize it. When you’re trying to override your internal world, you’re opting out of your own congruency and it doesn’t work. Showing up congruently will shift the dynamics of your team, even in a virtual world.

Join us this week as we share some examples of congruent leadership and show you the importance of slowing down in order to check in with yourself. We discuss ways you might be displaying incongruences in your life, and why acknowledging how you feel within will enable you to take steps that feel right for you.

If you want to make a difference for either yourself and your career, or your team and your organization, send us an email to sign up for coaching! We can come and do a book club or simply visit with your team! Don’t worry about physical limitations – we work really well virtually, too!

If you enjoyed the show, please share the podcast with your family and friends, or post a five-star review on iTunes. Rating and reviewing the show helps spread the word, which means less friction and suffering for everyone, and who doesn’t want that?

Learn More:

  • How to be a congruent leader.

  • Why it takes slowing down and getting in your body to know if you’re being true to yourself.

  • The difference between a congruent and incongruent leader.

  • Why you are not defined by your accomplishments.

  • Some examples of incongruent leadership.

  • A great example of how horses are in tune with congruency.


Full Transcript:

CrisMarie: Welcome to The Beauty of Conflict, a podcast about how to deal with conflict at work, at home and everywhere else in your life. I am CrisMarie.

Susan: And I'm Susan.

CrisMarie: We run a company called Thrive Inc, and we specialize in conflict resolution, stress management coaching and building strong, thriving teams and relationships both in person and virtually.

Susan: We are starting 2021 with a series based on our book, The Beauty of Conflict for Teams. We’ll be sharing tips, tools about how to make your team work more effectively especially in this remote and virtual environment. We hope you’ll walk away from this episode and this series with some fresh ideas that change your day, your week and even your life.

CrisMarie: Today we’re continuing on our Beauty of Conflict for Teams season. And we are going to be talking about chapter 12 in The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team’s Competitive Advantage. And this chapter is called Horses and Leadership. And really the core is how to be a congruent leader, so Susan why don’t you even define congruent, incongruent, and why it even matters.

Susan: Okay. So first off let’s talk a little bit about incongruent leadership, CrisMarie. So incongruent is that leader who you probably worked for somebody like this before or been around somebody like this before. They look good. They sound good.

CrisMarie: Saying all the right things.

Susan: They’re saying all the right things. But there’s just this sense of like wait a minute, something isn’t quite right. They are talking about how they really want to operate as a team but you’ve never once heard them give anyone else on their team credit.

CrisMarie: Or maybe not ever once but not very frequently.

Susan: Not very frequently, it doesn’t come up. It’s always what they accomplished. And yet you’re hearing this message, what’s really most important to hear at our organization is that it needs teamwork. And you can see that mismatch.

CrisMarie: Yeah. I know that when I have been around an incongruent leader, first you kind of go, “Okay, yeah, it’s going to work.” And then I get disappointed. I worked for somebody for a few years and I’d be like, “He really cares about us, he’s going to move us along. He’s saying all the right things. He wants to be of service.” And then no, it’s just all about him in the end and it’s really discouraging because I bought the story. And then when you find the behavior behind it, that was hard.

Susan: But let’s be clear, we are all incongruent sometimes, it’s not like you just are congruent and there you are. But now, here’s how the horses come into play because horses are these big bio feedback machines. In other words, one thing, they operate to survive, they operate as a herd, so they have learned to pick up the cues that are not just – obviously they’re not talking to each other, there’s no Mister Ed out there.

CrisMarie: No, there’s no words.

Susan: So they are picking up the subtleties of movements or patterns, ears going back.

CrisMarie: These are about the horses?

Susan: Yeah, and then they respond accordingly. They don’t worry about who’s in charge or not, it just passes through their herd and they move. Now, when you start to actually enter into a relationship with a horse the only thing the horse really cares about in the whole arrangement…

CrisMarie: It probably doesn’t care if my hair’s purple, or if I’ve got a nice house, or if I’ve got the promotion, or the title.

Susan: It couldn’t care less about the title.

CrisMarie: Or the purple hair.

Susan: Or the purple hair. But what they do care about is that you’re congruent. And what that means is that first off, in horse language, you need to be in your body because if you’re not embodied, if all you are is a talking head and giving them commands, that horse will do one of two things. It’ll just move away from you like you’ve got to be kidding, or it’ll keep putting its nose in you and butting you, trying to get you to wake-up.

CrisMarie: I think this really reminds me of me of not being in my body because early in my career and in my life I was focused on, I’m going to be successful if I focus on what you want, Susan, or what you want, boss, person, or you want client, and become that. And I was very rarely connected, I didn’t even know what, what do you mean, being in my body? Of course I’m in my body. But I wasn’t grounded. I couldn’t find my feet.

I had to learn that slowing down and getting in my body to even know if I was being congruent or not because I was so convinced that if I do what you want I will be safe. So my locus of control or my sense of safety was outside of me, outside of my physical body, outside of me completely.

Susan: I really like the example, CrisMarie, you’re giving. And two things, I mean I know your story, and some of you who have been listening regularly to our podcast may know your story. But I always say about when you were rowing, and my experience of you when you were rowing is that you went for rowing because of an experience you had where it was magical on the water. You had a sense of working together, what it was like to be a team. And that was just like it propelled you to actually want to find a coach to help you stay in that boat.

And in that case you were actually trying to emulate what somebody wanted. But you were also often inside, I love this rhythm. You were connected to what it meant to you.

CrisMarie: Well, I had seen that made for TV movie and it was a love story. So I was like, “Rowing sounds really good”, because rowing was in the movie. And I had been pretty alone. And so when I got into this whole group of women and we were training together, this felt really fun. And then rowing together, yes, the rhythm, and the teamwork, and the connectedness I just loved.

Susan: And I think at some point in your career you also came up against the challenge sometimes that happens, as consistently winning you started to focus on the way I have to win to be good enough. And then you also had the challenge many of us are facing, many leaders are facing, my outside goals don’t add up then I must not be doing enough and work harder.

CrisMarie: Yes, I had to keep at Washington since we were winning, had to keep winning. And you described it quite well. When I did lose, I lost twice, and it was devastating, like oh my God, who I am doesn’t exist because I didn’t produce the results. Because who I was, was I was defining it as all my accomplishments.

Susan: Yes, which in some respects is a tremendous example of incongruence.

CrisMarie: Break that down more, Susan, tell me, was I being incongruent? I want to know.

Susan: Because you lost twice over a college career of four years, six years in nationals, so altogether, twice.

CrisMarie: Six years, yeah.

Susan: Six years. So losing two times out of how many races, probably 200 or more, right?

CrisMarie: Something.

Susan: So there’s something that there’s a mismatch there and yet you’re…

CrisMarie: No, probably 60 races I would say.

Susan: Okay. Well, big races, but you had all those [crosstalk].

CrisMarie: Yeah, I lost more than that.

Susan: Okay, but still, 60 races, two out of 60. And you considered that…

CrisMarie: I was devastated.

Susan: Devastated, like oh my God. And then in my opinion you pulled back and said, “Oh God, I must be a loser”, at times.

CrisMarie: Yeah, I definitely imploded and thought I was the problem, I was at fault and felt shame and didn’t really know because I hadn’t learned how to win and lose.

Susan: And I think if you had had a little more congruence you would have been able to say, “Well, okay, I have lost a couple times, I have won a number of times. So you’d start to get, it’s not really about the win loss. But you could start to maybe bring it back to and I’ve seen you do this in your talking, coming back to when were you actually consistent and which teams were you on where there was you knew inside and out that you guys were talking to each other, you were working together.

CrisMarie: It sounds a little bit like you’re talking about perspective, having perspective versus congruence. So I am…

Susan: Well, a perspective is one part of congruence. To be able to see something from a way that isn’t just skewed, totally skewed. But to say, “Well, wait a minute I could see this is all good or all bad. But if I actually have some perspective I began to see, no, there is actually a whole bigger context to what is possible.” So I’m just saying that’s one piece of it.

CrisMarie: No. And that’s a pretty important piece because I think in my desire to achieve a goal I get a very narrow focus. And I also think the measure of what is okay is defined outside of me. If you are happy I get your approval. And so there is a narrow focus, there is this what do I need to do to please you? An outside focus, and in all of that I am sacrificing me, the inside.

Susan: Yes. And that’s one example of incongruence.

CrisMarie: That’s interesting.

Susan: And it’s so interesting because we do a lot of leadership development. And leaders these days more and more gratefully, leaders are trying to focus on how to build better relationships. EQ has gotten some press. And the only trouble is sometimes they don’t realize the magnification of their own internal situation. So they’re busy trying to make sure you’re doing okay. I need to do all the things so that my people, yeah.

CrisMarie: Oh gosh, this is happening in Covid all the time. I need to make sure my people are doing okay.

Susan: And they’re internal, what they don’t realize is that internally they may be going, “I don’t have a clue how to run this virtual meeting. There’s no frigging way we’re going to accomplish what we’re supposed to accomplish.” So that inner dialog, if they don’t pay some attention to it and they just operate totally focused on I’ve just got to get the team together, we’ve got to do team building, we’ve got to [inaudible].

They don’t realize that they are broadcasting a message that is actually still being broadcast, it’s not a clean message, it’s not clear, it’s not congruent. But people are probably picking up, oh my God, she is a mess.

CrisMarie: Well, something is going on.

Susan: What is going on?

CrisMarie: Imagine if a horse was in the room which nobody’s in the room, but a horse would be like, “I am walking away from that team.”

Susan: Yes. I’ll tell you, so let’s bring this back to the horses. So why this became so profound for me and why I pursued my efforts to become an Equus coach and a master facilitator in that world is because I went to a workshop once probably about 10 years ago now.

CrisMarie: Let’s be clear, I dragged her to the workshop.

Susan: Yes, she did. And I got leadership, and horses, and I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding.” But I went.

CrisMarie: That was a decade ago.

Susan: I know. And there we were, we were in Arizona. So you have to picture this, there’s 14 of us, the workshop’s starting. We’re invited, Koelle who is the woman who is running the workshop. As we’re sitting around what is kind of a round pen or arena where the horses are going to be coming in. And she’s telling us what we’re going to be asked to do because she’s like, “I’m going to ask you to come out here and develop a relationship with this horse.” Is sort of the opportunity, I think she did demo.

CrisMarie: She did.

Susan: She did. I know she did because I’ve seen her enough of her work now to know, but at the time I don’t remember a damn thing she did. But anyway what happened, so then she does the infamous question that we all do, “Would someone like to go first?” And one thing that drives me nuts at workshops is when no one volunteers. So it was silent, crickets. So I said, “Okay, I’ll go.” And I jump up and I walked down and while I’m getting myself down there they bring in this horse.

And as I get close to where I need to walk into this arena area, this round pen area all I hear is this horse kicking and running these rapid circles. And I’m like…

CrisMarie: And whinnying, it was making all sorts of noise. I was there.

Susan: Yeah. Inside my head I’m going, what the hell have I done? What have I signed up for? This is insane. I didn’t know. And Koelle asked me, “Are you okay with this?” And I like any good person would do said, “Yeah, I’m fine.”

CrisMarie: And the incongruent person.

Susan: Incongruent person said, “I’m fine.” I did though say, “Maybe will walk me out there.” Well, I didn’t say why I wanted her to walk me out there. I just said, “Maybe you could walk me out there.” And so she walked me out there and then she said, “Are you good?” And I was like, “I’m good.” No. Internally I was screaming. And the horse in the meantime was even…

CrisMarie: It was pretty intimidating.

Susan: And so I’m in there, middle of this thing and she goes back up so she can coach me. She’s giving me a little bit of.... She said, “I’m going to give you a little time to work on that relationship with the horse.” And I’m like, “Okay, yeah.” I had no clue what I’m doing, no clue. And I’m scared and terrified. Now, I’m not saying any of that though. And finally she just said, “So wait a minute, let me just ask you.”

CrisMarie: She gave you a little while and then she did, yeah.

Susan: She gave me a while and she said, “Really, how are you doing?” And I said, “You know.” And I could feel the tears starting to come on. I said, “If I’m completely honest I have no idea what I’m doing out here. I only said yes because nobody else did. I don’t have a clue how to work with horses and I’m terrified.” And I kind of fumble on for a few minutes and all of a sudden I realized it was silent. The whole place had gone silent. And she said, “I want you to see, notice where the horse is now.”

The horse was right up on my shoulder. And she said, “The horse is there because this is the first time you’ve been congruent, you acknowledge.” She said, “This isn’t about being good with horses. This is about being good with yourself and when you are good with yourself that, the horse responds to that.” And I’ve seen it over and over. People are the same. Your people are the same way. But we are social animals.

CrisMarie: I know. Well, we’ve been – I think people think we can get away with it. We can fake it till you make it. And to some degree that’s true but there’s so much more relationship building when you can acknowledge, wow, I’m a little nervous about how this is going to go and I’m not sure but I’m going to hang in there. I think so much of our leadership training is, don’t let them see you sweat. But we forget human beings, even on video pick up the resonance of something’s going on that feels funky. And we don’t relax around that. Horses are much louder than human beings.

Susan: Yeah. And obviously we’re not suggesting that everyone who’s listening to this podcast needs to go get a horse. It can be a very powerful way to do the work.

CrisMarie: And you can’t yet come to Montana to do our horse workshop which we’d love to have you at.

Susan: And there’s still lots of things about congruent leadership that you can learn and begin to understand.

CrisMarie: And congruence can look a lot of different ways. So there is that, I love that example, your story. Even earlier in my career, here I was working at Arthur Andersen trying to be a good business process development consultant and doing all this analysis.

And my leader at the time, the – I think she was a senior manager, she might have been a partner, Tamra Chandler sat me down and she said, “You know what, you really should look at working more with people. You’re a great coach, people trust you. You don’t have an agenda with them. You might want to consider that. You keep trying this other track because that was the cool track, that was the macho track.” And it just doesn’t fit.

So I was trying to burn my engine up trying to be something that I really didn’t fit because that’s what I thought everybody wanted. Again, what do I think people want versus hey, what really resonates with me?

Susan: And so that’s a big piece.

CrisMarie: I know, that was 25 years ago.

Susan: I also think it’s really sometimes in those moments where you feel I am overwhelmed, I don’t know what to do.

CrisMarie: Like just an hour ago when I was filling out our PPP 2.0 application and I did it wrong. And they sent it back to me and I’m desperately trying to do the Bank of America portal with no human being to help me.

Susan: Now, there was a human being walking in and out of the room at various times trying to support her.

CrisMarie: You don’t know what’s going on here, this is very stressful.

Susan: And in the moment I was watching and it did feel like watching a wild horse. I did offer, because sometimes if you can find any means to just get in touch with some form of support inside yourself. So it could be like I think I said to you, “Maybe take a moment, just pause.”

CrisMarie: No fucking way.

Susan: Because sometimes that’s one of the hardest things to do when you’re in frantic action is to pause, and take a breath, and the support of the chair.

CrisMarie: Yeah. I think when I’m in that place, which I can get to often, I’m telling myself, oh my God, if I don’t do this right and I don’t do it now, bad things are going to happen. That is a common mean voice that pops up in my head. And it is like prying my fingers off the keyboard to actually say, “Wait a minute I actually can figure this out”, and to actually get in touch with my resources, grounding in my body. I told you early on that was hard for me, so it still is.

And when I do it I get a different perspective, my brain comes back online. I see things that I was missing in the application. There’s all sorts of goodness that comes from it but the resistance is there as well.

Susan: Well, and I think that’s probably true for all of us when we’re in a spin it’s hard to just say, “This is a good idea to take a pause”, and yet it can be very powerful.

CrisMarie: Yes, I call it a fear storm, when I’m in a fear storm because that’s what it feels like. But how is that related to congruence though, incongruence?

Susan: Okay, so, well, one, here’s the thing. I’m going to talk about lighthouse coaching for a moment because I am really excited about this lighthouse coaching. We talk about this notion of the Beauty of Conflict on Teams. And that really when you lean into the conflict you actually get to the beauty of it, if you opt out of the beauty, CrisMarie, then you miss it. You actually don’t get the opportunity. Well, it’s the same in your internal world.

When you’re trying to override your internal world, that’s in that fear storm, it’s like you’re ignoring, it’s kind of like opting out. You’re just not paying attention to anyone else in the room. It doesn’t work very well. You’re not getting, we call it the team IQ. We talked about that’s how you, you know, it’s the same way inside yourself. If you don’t actually pay attention to wow, something inside me is scared, is anxious, is wound up. If you can’t acknowledge that part it will just be a storm that’s going to be out of control.

But if you turn the light inward and bring your light in you actually have the opportunity to hold that space for the storm. And in that storm you get the next right step.

CrisMarie: I love that. In the body of work that I do focusing, this is about I often start with a little grounding for people to kind of find that lighthouse or what I call self in presence. Your body is a key way of developing presence, slowing down. Our bodies work at a different rhythm much like the horse, different rhythm than our heads. Our heads are spinning, the mind’s spinning, spinning, oh my God, telling us scary stories.

And if we actually pause, slow down and you can do this even right now, feel your feet, you can wiggle your toes. Feel your seat if you’re sitting down and whatever your back’s against. And just lean into that support that’s right there, there’s nothing you need to do. That starts to slow down the nervous system and my brain comes back online.

Susan: And it’s such a powerful thing, CrisMarie, when you’re doing – you can, I mean these days with – it’s simple easy on Zoom to just sit back, take some breath, pause, hold the space. And I don’t know how many times I’ve just seen such a profound shift with just nanoseconds of that. It doesn’t take long.

CrisMarie: I mean you’ve heard on our other podcast, your IQ drops, my IQ definitely dropped when I was trying to navigate the Bank of America PPP portal 10 to 15 points. So I am dumber trying to do that versus slowing down. It’s kind of like that whole racecar slow down on the curves to go fast on the straighter ways. And there’s such a resistance when I’m believing that fear storm in my head.

Susan: And so I mean we’re bringing this up because congruent leadership right now, and let’s be clear, congruent leadership isn’t about title. That’s what I love about working with the horses, they’re like well, you’re the team leader and you are supposed to do this, and you took over. They’re not doing all the little weird stuff we do. But they just are like who’s moving, who’s taking care of the safety, because really for them as, you know.

CrisMarie: Leadership shifts depending on the situation, yeah.

Susan: Yeah. And so it happens because the horses are embodied, they’re present, they’re there. And so they, whichever horse picks it up first, great, you’re the one we need to be following. And there’s not a lot of conflict around them. On teams that’s very different but we have the same opportunity to utilize each other’s strengths and not to just override it or have to prove ourselves.

CrisMarie: And so even demonstrating in a team meeting, if you’re not the leader you, if you show up congruently when there is a difficult situation and say, “Well, I’m uncomfortable because I’m not sure which direction we’re going.” Anything like that it will shift the dynamics because when somebody shows up congruently it’s like the energy, the energy doesn’t drop. It’s like there is a grounding in the energy. It feels differently even on Teams, or Zoom, or Google Meet.

Susan: It’s like you said, when we have a lighthouse in the room.

CrisMarie: It’s true, it’s like somebody has…

Susan: Has anchored in the storm, there’s something there and there is a light that’s giving direction that makes some sense, that’s not coming in some frantic action, but it’s just locating.

CrisMarie: Or isn’t trying to please, or cover up, or, oh my gosh. And we were thinking about different leaders we had worked with. And one gal who is a CFO of a company a few years back. It was hard to get her to show up and in that congruence because her style was, she had lots of things that she was upset about. But rather than bringing them up in the team meeting, what she would do is she would go to the CEO just one-on-one and create this little alliance.

Susan: And explain why this was such a big problem, based upon her financial expertise.

CrisMarie: Yeah, she’d use her expertise as the CFO, but she said she wanted team, but she was doing all these things to operate in the function and not show up as a lighthouse in the room.

Susan: Yeah, and it was really difficult to support her and helping her to get to, if you don’t start to recognize that if you don’t deal with your teammate, whether you meant to throw your teammate under the bus or not, to them it can feel like that. But if you talk more directly to them in the room from your position of expertise, not making theirs wrong, but just saying, “I’m actually looking at the finances and this is what I’m seeing and because of that I’ve come to this conclusion and I don’t know if the direction you’re wanting to go is a good idea.” Then that person could respond to it.

CrisMarie: Yeah. It’s using the expertise but it’s also being relational and actually a bit vulnerable if she even added, “Hey, I’m uncomfortable because I’ve looked at the books and this is where the money’s going and I don’t think it’s a good idea, but I want to find out from you.” All of that is a different conversation than going to the CEO and like, “Oh my gosh, David’s spending all this money and it’s really not good and you should really stop it.” That’s not very helpful.

Susan: Right. And saying, “I want a team”, but then doing things to undermine the dynamics of that. And another kind of classic example I have that shows up, this is a sales guy on a team that we were – head of sales. And I think both sales and marketing but maybe just sales. Anyway here we are in this executive team. So we’re talking about the whole organization and his area, his house in the organization was always in order. Not only that but it was beyond impeccable. He was doing incredible things.

CrisMarie: All you had to do was ask him and he’d tell you how great he was doing.

Susan: And there were some serious…

CrisMarie: Operational issues.

Susan: Going on and he would be like, “Well, I could fix that but I’d have to take my eye off of this and that’s not my job.” Or really, there are ways. But he wouldn’t actually do that. He wouldn’t actually support his teammate or even recognize that possibly his excellence in his own area might be infringing. And it was very hard to talk to him about that. And yet on some level I actually think in coaching eventually it came up, it really was his own insecurities about…

CrisMarie: Not doing well enough.

Susan: Yeah. And looking at that was helpful and eventually he could bring it forward. It was a rough road. But then the team finally, because what was happening was the rest of the executive team was just hoping that if he got some coaching he would be gone. And what ended up happening was, “No, you guys actually are the best feedback.” And I think what they really got when they finally did give him the feedback and the amount of angst he went through was they had some confession. And he started to realize they did have his back. But boy it was a, you know, it was probably a six month.

CrisMarie: I think it was more than that. I think so often, that piece that you’re saying Susan, what’s happening inside, that insecurity shows up somehow outside, with this head of sales person, Frank, his insecurities were like he had to say how great he was because really underneath it he was terrified he was never going to be good enough. And that was an old hole that he kept trying to fill up. And that’s so often we’re broadcasting whether we know it or not. And it’s usually not, like for me if I don’t think I can do something I’m like, “Oh my God, I’ve got to do it.”

It’s kind of a counter, and I wanted to say, with that, the piece of, what we really cultivated with that team was not only helping Frank be congruent but actually helping the team become congruent in the team meetings, giving each other feedback. And I love it when we can take a team that is willing to do that because it is such a huge game changer. They really start to trust each other. They develop a whole different performance level.

And there’s this juiciness that starts to happen like we are a team. And you don’t know it unless you really commit at that level.

Susan: And I think about the leaders who we’ve known over probably our 20, some of them our entire years or more of us working together and with them in different places. And they’ve moved from different organizations, different teams. And when we talk to them they’re always saying, “What I love is that I really learned how to use that conflict. It was okay to be at each other.”

CrisMarie: Well, it was like having, one person said, “It’s like a good Italian family. We put everything on the table, but we still love each other and everything’s out on the table, the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful.”

Susan: You don’t get there easily. You have to kind of, can do the work consistently and recognize congruence is trying to not match your – so your insides match your outsides. And then as a team, what are you doing as a team?

CrisMarie: Are you being congruent with each other because that really is, we’ve been interviewing a couple of leaders that we’ve worked with over the years and they’re like, “That was a real key, getting this idea that this is my A team, the team you’re a member of is the team that is really your primary team and that you can be honest with them.” Cultivating that is a whole game changer and how that team starts to perform. People also banter around the term ‘authentic leadership’, so I just wanted to…

Susan: I think, and I’m playing with this because I didn’t have it down a little while ago, it’s just one of those things. But when we were talking about these different people I think a lot of times our authenticity can come out in the areas where we may have some sort of natural expertise or develop some expertise because there’s this authentic. Somebody who’s good with finances or sales like both Sally and Frank, they were masters of their area. So from an authentic point of view they were being authentic.

But where the congruent comes into play is when you’re in, it’s not just your natural traits or your, you know, what you’ve learned. But it’s the willingness to deal outside of your own comfort zone and recognize I don’t know what to do but I do know something is off and I’m going to try to name that. That’s congruence, that’s bringing – and congruent leadership is that willingness to be authentic when it fits. But congruent meaning you’re actually looking at the outside to see what does match up for me to say here, not just what’s authentic for me to say.

CrisMarie: Yeah. I tend to think of authentic as more natural and maybe heart oriented or I’m being me. But congruence is actually I’m willing to say what I don’t like in a sense. So it feels like more backbone as well as being transparent.

Susan: Yeah, I like that because it’s also sort of like when you said authenticity is like people think of that as the shine, “Woo, the shine.” And congruence isn’t always shiny. However, if you are congruent you get to that light, when you can deal with it, that’s the lighthouse, when you can actually own your own what’s really going on in there, not just the bright shining light. Because a lighthouse has got more than just the light at the top, it’s that whole light that…

CrisMarie: It’s a base, it’s got a base, yeah.

Susan: Yeah, it’s got a base, it’s grounded.

CrisMarie: I think that’s why coaching is so powerful because a lot of times incongruence, my incongruence over the years I haven’t always been able to see. I’m like, “I’m trying to do the right thing.” And it’s usually been, like when Tamra gave me feedback, you’ve given me feedback, other people, coaches that I’ve worked with have kind of confronted me and I’ve been like, “Wow.” Almost like I have to sit with that because it’s so out of my awareness and it’s really helped me integrate and own and say, “Yeah, I do want to be a coach.”

Or it shifted my career, that conversation with Tamra, she probably totally forgot it, you know, different things. Where having that feedback is so crucial and that’s why I think on a team when we work with teams and help them develop that, they really start to rock and roll in a positive way.

Susan: Because one, to get to congruent leadership you need to be willing to kind of look at the insides. But you also to do that you need good honest feedback. And so you can’t do it solo.

CrisMarie: Yeah, because it’s usually in your blind spot.

Susan: Yeah. But you have to be willing to show up so that people can give you that feedback, so it’s tricky.

CrisMarie: That’s true. So if you’ve enjoyed this episode you might want to check out our book The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing your Team’s Competitive Advantage on Amazon. And it’s chapter 12. If you want us to speak at your organization, or work with your team, or coach you, you can reach out to us at That’s And that’s all from me from CrisMarie and…

Susan: Susan.

CrisMarie: Have a great week.

Susan: Wow, CrisMarie, I have sure been enjoying doing this series for teams and utilizing our chapters from our book The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team’s Competitive Advantage. It’s been fun to go back and review the material and apply it to virtual teams.

CrisMarie: It’s true. And it’s so much good bite-sized material in these chapters, I mean if I do say so myself. And if you want us to speak at your organization, or work with your team, yes, virtually, we’ve been doing that, team sessions, or coach you or leaders on your team, please reach out to us. You can check us out at our website, that’s or send us an email, write to us directly, we’re happy to chat,, that’s Okay, take care.


CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke

Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict

CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.

They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.

Download the eBook, How to Talk About Difficult Topics, today!

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