Do you wish to become a more conscious leader but don’t know where to begin? Joining Aoife this week is conscious leadership expert, international keynote speaker and owner of Totally Morpheus, Ian Hatton. With a wealth of leadership knowledge and over two decades of experience, Ian has trained and developed leaders across more than 90 countries, racking up over 10,000 sessions.
Ian shares his voyage of seeking authentic leadership and his discovery of conscious leadership throughout this insightful discussion. Ian breaks down everything leadership is not, delves into the inner journey to happiness, and reveals how you can excel in your zone of genius. Ian unveils leaders’ challenges and shares stories of effective leadership processes. Ian also shares the importance of living in the present moment, being prepared to put the work in, and making yourself a priority, as, after all, your number one job is YOU! Further key points throughout include;
– An introduction to Ian Hatton
– Self-leadership is not self-control
– Your number one job is to take care of yourself
– What is the point of authenticity at work?
– The secret of life is the journey
– Destination focus – will you unlock happiness?
– Behaviour management: Above the line VS below the line
– Are you playing the role of a victim?
– Identifying your points of power and the superpower of listening
– The assumptions of leadership
– The connect, stimulate and challenge method
– Steps to becoming a conscious leader
– The road to radical self-acceptance
– What being happier at work means to Ian?
“Telling isn’t growing people. Listening grows people.” – Ian Hatton.
THE LISTENERS SAY:
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Book: The 15 Commitments of conscious leadership by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman & Kaley Klemp
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Aoife O’Brien 00:00
You’re listening to the Happier at Work podcast. I’m your host Aoife O’Brien, this is the podcast for leaders who put people first. The podcast covers four broad themes, engagement and belonging, performance and productivity, leadership, equity, and the future of work. Everything to do with the Happier at Work podcast relates to employee retention. You can find out more at happieratwork.ie
Ian Hatton 00:25
We think the solution is out there some where, you know, one day when I find the perfect diet, one day when I find the perfect promotion, one day when I win the lottery, but the solution is actually inside. And of course, that’s more difficult because it involves long, hard looks in the mirror. But that inner journey is actually where we’re going to find our happiness.
Aoife O’Brien 00:42
Hello, and welcome to this week’s episode of the Happier at Work podcast. I am delighted that you decided to tune in today, this week’s guest is Ian Hatton. We talk all about conscious leadership. And without giving too much away, Ian shares a personal journey with us, he talks about how to become a better leader, how he went from seeking out authentic leadership and moved into seeking out conscious leadership as well. So we have a really insightful discussion about it. He talks about the various different commitments that we need to make in order to improve our lives in order to be able to lead ourselves better, and in order to be able to lead other people better. As always, at the end, I will do a synopsis of some of the key points and the highlights for me and some specific actions that you can take as a result of listening to today’s podcast. So do stay tuned for that. And please do get involved in the conversation. If you have any thoughts. If you have anything to add any experience of this yourself, I would absolutely love to hear about it. Do feel free to connect with me through social media Aoife O’Brien on LinkedIn and the links are below in the show notes. Or connect with me on Instagram happieratwork.ie or if you visit the website, you will see links to all the social media and where we are. That’s happieratwork.ie. Welcome Ian to the Happier at Work podcast, I’m delighted to have you as my guest today. Do you want to give listeners a little bit of a flavor about your background? How you got into doing what you’re doing?
Ian Hatton 02:22
Yes. So yeah, thank you very much. I’m also known as Morpheus, which I’m going to get to as part of what I’m going to talk about now. And the whole thing is that I spent 20 years in corporate IT, I worked for Microsoft for nearly five years and I got to observe what was happening in leadership. And it made me quite distraught, including my own leadership of my team that failed miserably at one point. So after all of that, I kind of had this bee in my bonnet about something called authentic leadership. And I wanted to, you know, bring that to the world and thought I am the right person to sort of save the world in terms of this. Of course, you know how that’s gonna go. And the result is some you know, many years later, eventually, I after a long journey, which I don’t mind talking about, got to this point where conscious leadership is really my thing. And I’ve now been working with leaders, I’ve been training and developing leaders from more than 90 countries now, over 10,000 sessions, and, you know, just all over the world and it’s been a fabulous journey. That sounds incredible. And I’m totally with you there on this idea that you get a bee in your bonnet, and you’re like, I know how to save the world, I want to do this, everyone’s gonna love it. I kind of almost, you know, dare I say a little bit of a god complex, because I went through that as well as like, I know exactly what’s wrong, and I know exactly how to change it. But I think humility gets you at some point. And you realise that maybe what maybe my solution is not the answer for everyone. Or maybe my solution is not the answer that I thought it was. And do you want to kind of take us a little bit on that journey? And then we’ll get into a conversation around that. Yeah, totally. So at the time that I was busy leading for Microsoft, I started doing a master’s degree in organisational leadership. And I was, in hindsight, realised I was relieved that there was no subject on self leadership. The reason that I was relieved is that I, you know, had this idea that self leadership was self controlling, I wasn’t good at self control. So let’s not go there. You know, let’s just work on how we can fix everybody in the way that they lead without having to go on the inner journey. And of course, yeah, that’s exactly where life then takes you. Right. So I reached a point in 2011, where I was going through a divorce, I was leaving my business and I was leading my spiritual community. And that triple whammy got me to think about Hang on, maybe there is a problem here that needs to be addressed. And of course, one of the first waking points is to realise that self leadership is not self control, because that would mean leadership has control and leadership is not control. So why would self leadership be controlled and self leadership is leading selves. And that then got me on an inner journey of awakening to myself and making myself My number one job every day and, and realising that that’s how I could really bring influence and freedom to others.
Aoife O’Brien 05:21
I absolutely love that story. And really, interestingly, at the time of this recording, these podcast episodes have not yet been released. But the last few interview based podcast is centered around that theme of bringing your authentic self to work, but also working on your own issues internally of what’s going on for you. So it’s really interesting that there’s some parallels, completely unintentionally, with all of these podcast episodes, you know, on that similar theme. And, you know, if you’re open to it, I’d love to talk a little bit more about that, and what that means to you, you know, and I can completely relate to this. And I’m sure a lot of people listening today, this idea of, oh, no, I don’t want to have to do the work on myself, I’m happy to lead people and change other people and put the responsibility on other people to change themselves. But taking personal responsibility for my contributions to whatever’s going wrong, or doing the inner work to find out what my own issues are, is really scary, and I don’t want to do it.
Ian Hatton 06:29
it is very scary. And I mean, I can I can discuss it from multiple angles, let me start with this. One of the things that made it so tangible for me, is, as I started on this journey, and I would wake up every morning, I was I was living in a beautiful place at the time a friend of mine had given me this place, to occupy, it was a holiday home of his, and I was I was staying there. Just basically almost, I was kind of like in rehab, because I was burnt out and, and all of this stuff. And I would wake up and I would look over this beautiful lagoon. And I would say to myself, I am my number one job today, which is not the language I grew up with, which is a whole nother story if you weren’t allowed to love yourself, really the way I grew up. And I found myself, just making that wasn’t my only job. But my number one job was me and do it learning some breathing techniques. You know, just actually, I went and engaged a therapist as well, I was, I was just on this inner journey of, of what is the what is inside of me. But here’s the fascinating thing, almost immediately, in the work I was doing, which was sort of, you know, maybe once or twice a month going somewhere and doing leadership development work, I suddenly noticed I was having a deeper impact. And I hadn’t changed one of my techniques. The techniques were exactly what I’ve been doing for the previous five years. But suddenly, the impact was completely different. And it was astounding to see how different it was in the feedback I was getting, and getting ongoing feedback. after I’d finished the training. People kept coming back to me and saying this has changed. And this has changed. And this is this story and the story they want to tell me. And so there’s something about when we do the inner work, it immediately influences others, even without us changing our behavior.
Aoife O’Brien 08:15
Yeah. Is that a subconscious thing? Do you think that whatever is going on for us, if we’re healing ourselves, then we’re showing up differently, essentially, but not in a conscious way. Just, I don’t know how else to explain it.
Ian Hatton 08:31
It’s a beautiful word that you use it because I call this conscious leadership. And yet you’re absolutely right. It’s it’s happening at such a deep level that what we communicating I think is subconscious. And the way we showing up, we don’t even realise but our our very statute has changed our love that we bring to people has changed. And I think there is something of that authenticity. And I mean, this, it’s actually quite amusing. Because my goal when I when I left the corporate world was authentic leadership. And I hadn’t been authentic. And suddenly I was now being authentic, and I was having a bigger impact. So it it is subconscious, but it’s because we consciously engaged with ourselves that that development happens.
Aoife O’Brien 09:17
There’s a couple of things I’d love to unpack there. And I suppose it’s the meaning of authenticity. And the reason I ask is because I hear different people using it in different ways. And you may have shared this before Ian, this idea that it’s okay to show up just as I am. Even with everything behind oh look, I show up angry because I’m being authentic and you know, that kind of idea. versus you know, I suppose people taking personal responsibility and self leadership and being authentic from a self leadership perspective. Any thoughts on maybe the difference between those?
Ian Hatton 09:58
It’s not a license to were to just do whatever you want. That’s not the point of authenticity, the point of authenticity is that what you want to bring to the world, you bring it to yourself first. And you you, you’re prepared to do that work, because very often, you know, we we want to impose on behaviors on other people, but then we don’t have ourselves as accountable. And so I think, you know, the, the concept of emotional intelligence would be one simple example of this, where in emotional intelligence, I’m very aware of what’s happening for me emotionally. And I manage that in a way that I can tell that story without hurting other people. And I think that be then become so the authenticity for me, are aligned quite well with vulnerability and transparency. Whereas somebody who’s just venting over everybody, I don’t think that’s vulnerable. It might have an element of transparency, but it’s not vulnerable. And, and it becomes a hallmark, you know, I, I’ve done some mentoring of some young people for a long time, some of whom are now very successful in their own businesses. And one of the characteristics that they talk about I’ve, I’ve often said to a new mentee, go and speak to them, see what their experiences and find out what they have to say about working with me. And the one theme that comes through every single time is that I don’t come across as I’ve arrived, and I’m not trying to sort of help them, it comes across much more than I’m also on a journey. And I will tell you about where I’m struggling on my journey. And that way, I will be much more disarming and approachable for you to also come and tell me your story. And so the authenticity for me is my own authentic inner leadership journey, not my vomiting out my latest feelings on everybody. That to me is not what I mean by authenticity.
Aoife O’Brien 11:54
And it’s really interesting, you say about this idea that I’ve arrived, and I’m preaching from a place where I know much more than everyone else, and I’m, again, this idea of maybe the god complex, like the Messiah, and I have all of the answers. And that’s not what it’s about. It’s really interesting that you say that, because I think the perception sometimes is with this journey, let’s say of the the inner work, and I’ve heard people describe it as like an onion, like you think I’ve gone through that layer, and I’m proved the other side and brilliant, and I’ve worked on that. And then you find if there’s something else that maybe triggers you, or that you have some more work to do on your own healing. Really, really interesting. Any any thoughts to share?
Ian Hatton 12:42
So to me conscious leadership, you never ever arrive, there is no such thing as arriving. And this, I’m going to give you two examples of that. So the one is just for me, life isn’t even about arriving. I believe that the secret of life is the journey, there is no arrival whatsoever. And that’s where we live life. We don’t live life of one day when I’m funny enough, rich enough, or whatever, that that doesn’t come into it for me at all. It’s all about, am I continually growing and progressing on on the journey. And, you know, there’s an interesting book on conscious leadership. I don’t agree with everything in this book. But it’s a book called The 15 commitments of a conscious leader. And they talk about the behaviors which are not conscious leadership behaviors, and then the behaviors, which are conscious leadership behaviors, and you look at their 15 behaviors that are conscious leadership behaviors, and it’s unattainable. Nobody could live there all the time. And the secret is not to live there all the time. The secret is, how quickly do we become aware when we are on what they call the below the line, the unconscious leadership? How quickly do we become aware? And how good are we at getting ourselves back to the above the line version of ourselves? And that is the secret. It’s not to be above the line all the time. It’s that growing awareness when we aren’t. And what do we do about it? Do we have the skill to move ourselves into being more conscious leaders?
Aoife O’Brien 14:12
Yeah, so if I can rephrase something that you were saying there, it’s, it’s kind of about living in the present. And it’s not expecting that at some time in the future, I’m going to be happy because I’ve attained X, Y, Z, which I think a lot of people feel that way. A lot of people are stuck in this idea that exactly when I lose a little bit of weight, then I’ll be happy when I get the promotion, then I’ll feel more secure when I when something in the future happens. But more and more I’m hearing and learning myself about it’s about being happy with what you have now. It’s about being happy with the process that you’re you’re going through but the work that you’re doing, and if you’re not happy with that, then you know, again, you need to be aware of that and question, what’s going on that you’re not happy with the process or the journey that you are on?
Ian Hatton 15:00
Well, I think the beautiful example of that is is, you know, one day when I win the lottery, because yeah, the research on lottery winners is that they are less happy after having won the lottery than they were before. Yeah. And so you know, it’s that that sort of destination focus that we think that this in fact, this is, this is the problem, we think the solution is out there some way, you know, one day when I find the perfect diet one day when I find the perfect promotion one day when I win the lottery, but the solution is actually inside. And of course, that’s more difficult because it involves long, hard looks in the mirror. But that inner journey is actually where we’re going to find our happiness. The solution is not out there, the solution is inside here.
Aoife O’Brien 15:44
Yeah, love that. I’d love to touch on the idea of the above the line versus the below the line, if you can share anything around that maybe let’s focus on the at the above the line stuff, if you’re saying it’s not necessarily attainable all the time, but being aware of when you are below the line, and what kind of things are associated with that.
Ian Hatton 16:04
So let me give a very simple example. I’m going to be doing a session with I’ve got people on a one year program, and I’m doing a tribal gather, we call it tribal gathering with them on Saturday, and I was doing some preparation and commitment number seven is around appreciation. And the above the line version is that I am open to receive appreciation and are freely give appreciation to others. And the below the line version is it’s never enough, it must be done the way I wanted done, in the verse, this is the kind of thing I’m not I’m paraphrasing it, but you get the sort of feel for it. And, and the whole idea is when we become aware, for example, that we feeling resentful, we know within below the line, because we’ve been resentful because we’re not being appreciated the way we thought we should. Yeah, and we really, you know, that is not helpful. That’s in fact, a an extremely unhelpful, you know, approach. And so it’s becoming aware that we’re in that place. And I mean, let me give you the classic example. And this one, I remember learning in the 1980s, in my in our doing my undergraduate studies, and it was there was a turkey processing plant in the United States, and they had a particularly good year, absolutely bumper crop are very, very, extremely well received and very profitable. So they decided that every single staff member would get a turkey to take home for Christmas. And, and then the next year, it also went well, so that it again. And then the following year, things went terribly. And they were they were in debt and the company wasn’t flourishing and everything. And so they decided to that they could not afford to give every staff member a turkey. And then of course, everybody went on strike. And so that’s sort of, we build this entitlement and we feel entitled, we’re actually below the line. And when we am can experience the gratitude of receiving and giving generously, that puts us back above the line. And we’ve actually got a friend and we realise that we’ve almost both set a little alarm in our heads the moment we experience resentment, we we know we below the line, and we know we no longer acting in in unconditional love. We’re now suddenly acting transactionally. Yeah, which of course is not going to make us happy.
Aoife O’Brien 18:32
Okay, really interesting. And so on this above the line below the line, and based on what you’re saying, I’m like, I feel like I need to go out and buy this book and added to that very long list of books that are on my shelf and in my Kindle, that I’ve borrowed from the library as well. But if I’m hearing, right, it’s, it’s it’s like a continuum. So like, there’ll be a team say appreciation. And on the one hand, when you’re above the line, you have gratitude and you show gratitude to people. And if you’re below the line, then you have a sense of entitlement and resentment.
Ian Hatton 19:11
Yes, exactly that so maybe I can give you one or two other examples. And I think it’ll make a lot more sense. So let me okay, let me let me go into commitment number two, because I think it’s quite interesting. And in fact, later I want to do I think it’s commitment number eight, because that’s the one that I want to talk about in terms of being happier at work. So commitment number two says this; the conscious or above the line version, commit to growing sorry, it’s learning through curiosity is the heading. The conscious one is I commit to growing and self awareness. I commit to regarding every interaction as an opportunity to learn and I commit to curiosity as a path to rapid learning. The unconscious or below the line version says this, I commit to being right and to seeing the situation as something that is happening to me. I commit to being defensive, especially when I’m certain that I’m right. Very relatable, very relatable, very relatable. So every time I find myself holding on to being right, I’m like, hang on, hang on, I’m not being curious anymore. How do I how do I move myself out? How do I maybe take a few breaths, or whatever. So
Aoife O’Brien 20:16
I was told by a mentor about 10 years ago, now, it’s more important to be helpful than to be right. So this is in the context of our clients asking for something and they’re maybe asking for something very specific. So if you know that that specific thing is not going to be of benefit to them, and they’ve asked for the wrong thing. They’ve outlined what it is they want. And they’ve asked for a very specific thing from you that the opportunity then is to say, actually, based on what you’ve told me, it sounds like what will be more helpful is this rather than being right, and delivering what it is that they’ve asked for, when you know that that’s not the right thing, that, that they that will help them that will that they need?
Ian Hatton 20:57
Exactly, and and one of the things that I find so many leaders, and it’s becomes an ego attached thing, and so on, but it’s pretty unconscious, is that people think that their job as a leader is to win arguments. And, and for me, and to be right in in the moment, they’re not right, they’re vulnerable, somebody could take the role or something like that. And I’m going no, the opposite is true. Leadership, you could win arguments and lose battles, battles, like engagement battles, like, you know, productivity. So to me, the leader job is not about being right. The the job is about facilitating people’s engagement and productivity and, and those sorts of things and growth. And, and the classic example, for me is a bit of an internal thing, again, a bit of a confession in the days prior to my sort of awakening, if you like, is I was delivering training in a big financial institution here in South Africa. And they, I got feedback on my evaluation form. That said, this said Ian’s need to be right is getting in the way of being a good facilitator.
Aoife O’Brien 22:09
Oh, interesting. I’m sure that was very hard to hear.
Ian Hatton 22:12
Crushing, it was crushing, it took me about three weeks to recover. But it actually changed the direction of my life. And I realised that my job as a facilitator is not being the expert. I am an expert, but it’s not my job. My job is facilitating the learning, which is a drawing out of them not a putting in. Yeah. And that is kind of aligned with this commitment. So when I read this commit, but I just laughed, because this has been such a tough journey for me, and I still get it wrong every now and then. But it’s it’s so good to get it right as well.
Aoife O’Brien 22:46
Yeah, yeah. Are there particular things that you feel are more common than others? When it comes to conscious leadership, as in trying to be a more conscious leader? Are there some obstacles, some things that are more in the way than others?
Ian Hatton 23:05
So to me, there’s sort of two or three massive obstacles in it. They’re all in the mindset that they, they aren’t real obstacles, they’re all in the mindset, and some of them in culture. And, and one of them is does need to be right, this sort of sense that it’s my job to play the expert, whereas in fact, great leaders are the hallmark is asking good questions. Not giving all the answers. And, and when I asked leaders about that, and I said, Well, what would it be like, if you could lead by asking more quick questions, then giving more answers? And they said, well, that wouldn’t be leading anymore? And then I go, No, no, no, no, no, let’s talk about that. What do you mean? And they say, Well, if I keep asking questions, I’m taking a look like they don’t know anything. And then I take them through all the techniques and they go, Oh, my goodness, this is real leadership. This is hard work, listening, not either drawing out not forcing, asking difficult questions or questions that that get the other, the team members to take more ownership. Whereas Yeah, when they are pushing at them, they kind of go in in the the ownership lies with the leader. Whereas when they’re being asked great questions, it’s kind of like, Oh, my goodness, this is my job. I did a bit of shape up here, you know, so that they’d realise suddenly they’re actually asking good questions is, is a higher level of leadership. So that’s the one is this whole thing of being right versus facilitating the growth and development of the people and the ownership of their roles? That’s that’s really what it’s about. But, but the bigger issue I encounter, actually, we kind of hinted at already in the earlier part of the conversation, and that is leaders with a victim mindset. And this is to me, you you would be a shocked. I have worked with managers, of managers, of managers of managers, very, very senior people in big global organisations. And in the training, they will say something to me like, Well, I’m not going to do it for my people, if my boss doesn’t do it for me. That’s not leadership. That’s a bit like Nelson Mandela saying, well, until the government changes, I’m not going to try and lead the country. You know, that’s not leadership leaders, leaders bring change leaders bring to the people what, that which was never given to them. But it goes further, because because then their next thing, their next excuse they come up with is they’re blaming the staff. They’re bad leadership, I’m going that’s not leadership. And then, of course, they’re victims of the economy and the, and the politics and all sorts of things. And I’m going, that’s not leadership, conscious leadership is, I understand all of that. But I’m going to bring what I’ve got here to the world. And that’s, that’s the opposite of the victim. So in many ways, I say the opposite of conscious leadership is the victim mindset.
Aoife O’Brien 26:06
If you are a longtime listener to the Happier at Work podcast, you will have heard me speak previously about my signature Happier at Work program. The program has now moved beyond the pilot phase and it’s for organisations who want to maintain a really great culture that they already have. They know that their staff are really, really important. And they want to retain staff for as long as possible, and drive a sense of better engagement at work. Overall, ultimately, what the program does is create a happier working environment using research backed methods. What that means is we look at the current state of play, what needs to change, and then we measure the effectiveness of that change, during the program and also when the program finishes. The program itself is very practical. It is designed with coaching as well, in order to embed the learning into the organisation. From what you’re saying, it means that someone at any level in an organisation can activate that, yes, but you don’t have to be you know, if you take the decision that my boss doesn’t do this for me, so therefore, I’m not doing that for my staff, then it’s nothing is ever going to change, you know that that implies that it has to start from the top. But if you create a team environment where where you’re taking responsibility, where you’re not putting the blame on other people, then more people are going to work or more people are going to want to work on your team. Exactly, you know, when people will start taking notice. And that’s how things change, I think from from kind of lower in the organisation.
Ian Hatton 27:49
Totally agree. You know, one of the courses I’ve done, delivered quite a lot. And for some quite large organisations is a self leadership course. And very often on the self leadership, me sometimes they send quite senior leaders, but very often it’s people in positions of influence, who are not considered position the leaders as such, an example would be maybe the personal assistant to a senior leader, or, you know, somebody in in that sort of position. And in that course, we talk about your points of power. And I remember this one particular course. And we had I think it was the personal assistant to the general manager for this organisation in all of South Africa. So a very senior position. It’s a global organisation. So this is a very senior position. And she sort of said, no, she has no power, there’s no power at all, that she has. And, and everybody around the table knew her. And I just paused a little bit. And I said, Well, what do you think of her power? And they were a gast. They said, well, number one, you’re one of the most powerful people in the organisation because you have the keys to the gate of us getting access to your bus. But then they said, but no, that’s not even your superpower, your superpower is you the best listener we’ve ever met. And when you listen, you are influencing us. And you have an incredible power when you do that. And yeah, you can lead at any level by you know, listening is an incredible leadership skill. It makes people feel trusted, it empowers people. It helps them to think through things. And and we we sort of forget, we bit especially I don’t know, what’s global, but especially in Africa, we find a lot of assumption as leadership is about telling people things, telling people to do things.
Aoife O’Brien 29:39
I think that’s a global assumption. It’s safe to say, I mean, from what I see out there, things are changing. Yeah, for sure. They’re changing, but I think that’s the mentality. Certainly I was brought up with that. That’s what a leader does. Yeah. And is do you tell people what to do and it’s your job to tell people?
Ian Hatton 29:56
Yeah, and again, that’s been associated with being right again. So, yeah, we really want to get to this a different kind of a mindset where we look at, at influence and how does influence work and it’s so multifaceted. And, and yeah, we do want clear expectations and these kinds of things, but, but the sort of telling isn’t growing people listening grows people, you know that situation, we’ve all encountered it. Were you really struggling with something? And you say, Have you got a minute, I just want to, uh, you know, get some insight or idea. And you’ve just finished explaining the whole thing. And you go, Oh, I know exactly what to do. Thank you very much. The person goes, yeah, what did I do? Well, you listened, and that changed everything.
Aoife O’Brien 30:40
Yeah, yeah. That you’re able to verbalise. And when you say something out loud, I think it helps you. For me, certainly, it helps me to process what it is that I’m trying to do. And, and that certainly reminds me of a time when I was doing my master’s dissertation. Actually, when I was able to have verbalised stuff, when I was able to say it out loud, it really helped me to process what it was and to kind of put things in the right order, and all of that. So I definitely I can relate to that. It helps me to be able to say stuff out loud. So I’m sure other people listening can relate to, you know, just when you talk about a problem, it helps you to kind of solve it yourself.
Ian Hatton 31:17
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, when in the work that I do with Totally Morpheus, we have a particular piece of leadership development, which is, the method, the Morpheus method, and that is connect, stimulate challenge. And the Connect is all about listening, making people feel heard, make making me feel good. When people say, Yes, you got me, you know, that’s the Connect and the listening, the stimulate is asking questions to shift perspective. And so when we ask a really, really good question, so the listening on its own is a great skill, and it is leadership. But there’s more at the asking incredible questions, which can shift levels of ownership, you know, for example, saying, So what could you do about that? Or I see that you’ve got off check. You know, when do you think you’ll be back on track? You know, you you’re getting people or, or even, you know, what do your teammates think of, of that approach? What are your clients? How do they view it? You know, what you’re asking those kinds of questions that people can see it from another perspective. And that to me, that’s the stimulate. I’m asking, asking questions, I can actually tell you a story about a somebody I mentored about this particular process. And then the final one is the challenge where you’re kind of going, Okay, so now that you’ve seen this from a different perspective, what are you going to do about it? Or where could you go with it was something like that. And and I’ll tell you this quick story. That’s the first time I ever did this in the sequence. And it wasn’t, it was just one of those intuitive things. I had a young man who came to see me he had fathered a child outside of marriage, he was very young, he was still a student, he had no intention of marrying the mother, he didn’t feel that that would be useful. But he wasn’t being given access to the child. And this was an African setting with this and cultural issues at play as well, in this kind of scenario. And, and so he told me this story, and I listened, and he and he really, you could see he started to really open up he felt heard. But he was very indignant that he wasn’t being given access to this child. And I said to him, so tell me this. What do you think of the idea of having rights without responsibility? And he was at what do you what do you mean? So I said, Well, tell me how, what have you done so far for this child? The child was a few months old. And he said, Well, what do you mean, I have no money I, you know, I’m a student, and he really worked genuinely. exceptionally poor. And, and I said, Well, you know, if you don’t do anything for the child, why would you be given access rights to the child and you could just see all the wheels turning and, and, and he went, you know what, that’s a really interesting challenge. And about three or four weeks later, he messaged me to say he’d sent a blanket. It was getting towards winter, it was autumn and was getting towards winter and he sent a blanket. And, and literally within a couple of months, he was giving visit, he’s got visiting rights. He was paying for child care. He found a way and and it’s this whole thing of he, he wouldn’t have been open to my challenge. If there wasn’t first the listening, the asking of good questions, and then the challenge and so that’s a great leadership process. And it takes a bit of humility, it takes a bit of courage even to to not jump in with the solution, but to realise that we could human beings and they want to be heard. And then they are open to ideas.
Aoife O’Brien 34:59
Yeah, yeah. As when you can, I suppose come from a place of empathy and understanding more of the situation, but then asking the right question. So again, this idea of listening than asking, but I love that kind of boat on there the challenge as well. So now that you know what, you know, yeah, what do you actually want to do about it? And maybe that brings us to a place where we say, Okay, so for someone who’s listening to this podcast episode today, what would you say, practically could be a first step for someone who’s listening, if they’re interested in this, and if they, if they want to become more of a conscious leader, or, like, let’s even take the labels out of it, if they want to become a better leader? What would you say are the first steps that someone listening today could take?
Ian Hatton 35:43
It’s gotta be the inner journey, it’s got to be and I know that sounds intimidating. And there’s no quick fix for this is one of those slow down to speed up moments, there’s no, there is no quick fix. But it’s being aware of your own internal barriers, what stops you from listening? So take, for example, this this thing that I was challenged on of my need to be right was getting in the way of being a good facilitator. What if my need to be right is getting in the way of being a good leader? What is that need to be right? Is that am I attaching my security to playing the expert? Instead of, you know, finding my inner security and not needing that? You know, and that’s, that’s the inner journey. So, unfortunately, you’re asking a great question, what’s the first step? But I think I need to contextualise that first step. And that is, this is not easy, this is looking in the mirror.
Aoife O’Brien 36:37
That’s why I said, not the entire journey, maybe just the first step that someone could take. So it’s not, it’s not that scary. But but maybe it’s a case of being aware of that. And I think there’s some things that have happened to me. And I don’t always get because of the conversations that I’m having on the podcast, but there’s been some things that I’ve been very aware of, and I’m like, oh, that’s triggering for me. Okay, let’s have a look inside. Why do I feel the way I feel when I see someone sharing that information? Or when I have that conversation with someone what’s going on? From me, and just noticing it and journaling on it, essentially, and saying, and when is this happened in the past? And why is that such a problem for me?
Ian Hatton 37:18
Yeah, you hit the nail on the head awareness is absolutely the first step. There is no point in engaging with the journey. If you aren’t aware, the awareness builds the momentum. So that is, is the first step. And then from awareness, we can we can we can go towards acceptance, because sometimes we need to accept that’s where we are before we can shift it. A lot of people think that once they become aware, it’s now forced to change. But actually, there’s something about accepting Oh, this is my, this is where I’m at, this is what’s going on, I do have a need to be right, or I do have a trigger, about X, Y, Z subject, whatever it might be, an M have been accepting that, you know, it’s almost like, if you drop somebody in the desert, and you say to them, you now need to find your way somewhere to a certain destination, if they don’t know where they are, and accept where they are. How do they plot the path to where they need to be? And we need to be aware and accept that. Because yes, that’s the tough step is that people want to want to deflect it.
Aoife O’Brien 38:21
I was gonna say exactly that II and like this, I think acceptance. Awareness is probably you’re like, Okay, I’m aware of this now. And you’ve kind of wished that you’re weren’t aware, because when you’re aware, you feel like you have to do something about it. Yes. And then acceptance is really difficult part. Because what what you want to do when you’re aware of something is change yourself in some way. Like, I wish I wasn’t like this, then I wish I was different. And I wish, I wish, I wish, but it’s about accepting yourself as you are. And I, you know, that’s really hard. And I’m even talking about it now. Like with some of the things that have come up recently, it’s like, that’s gonna be a hard step to take is accepting. That’s just how things are. Yeah. It’s not about fixing. It’s, you know, it’s about accepting.
Ian Hatton 39:08
So I’ve got a an 11 week journey we take leaders on for the inner part of, of conscious leadership journey, it’s an introduction level, it’s not the advanced level, but that introduction level living week process, and we do in that, other than introductions and conclusions, we’ve got do three weeks on, engaging with your own uniqueness three weeks on, on understanding the conditioning that you’ve been through and, and how you reverse that conditioning to get free. And then the last three weeks is radical self acceptance. Because if you don’t accept that you can’t change. And so I think I will accept myself when I’ve changed. And the exact opposite is true, that we are more likely to change when we’ve accepted ourselves. And that is a big challenge for so many people.
Aoife O’Brien 39:58
Yeah, I can relate to that. Absolutely. And it goes back to what we were talking about earlier. I think it links in nicely with this idea of I’ll be happy when. I’ll accept myself when I’m different when I’ve learned how to overcome this when I am no longer triggered when I but it’s about accepting yourself as you are in the moment. And not waiting for a time in the future when it’s acceptable to accept yourself, right?
Ian Hatton 40:26
I remember having a conversation with one of my clients who is also a close friend. And she said to me, no, no, no. Because she can’t accept this thing, because she has to change. And so I said, Well, how long have you struggled with this? And she went, well about 25 years? So I said, Well, you know, is it maybe time to try a different approach, because you’ve been trying to change yourself, and then you’ll accept yourself for 25 years. How about just at least giving the other way around a try, you know?
Aoife O’Brien 40:54
Yeah, absolutely. So the awareness, the acceptance, was there, something beyond that as well? Or is it just awareness and acceptance? I say, just as if it’s, you know,
Ian Hatton 41:05
It’s such a foundational piece of the awareness and acceptance. But, but there is, to me the offer the steps, I think, from acceptance, there is actually how do I leverage this? How do I leverage what I’ve, what I’ve now accepted to to shift to a new place? And how do I not just go beyond go beyond acceptance to the place of loving myself? because that to me, is part of this continuous journey. I mean, let’s flip it around to something positive. You know, if I can be aware of that I have an area of my life where I’m a genius. And we all do, every one of us does. And then I can accept that genius, which is such a difficult journey for most of us. Yeah, then I can say, well, how can I leverage this genius? And how and do I love myself enough to be able to bring this to the world, that it can make an impact? And I don’t think the negative ones are actually that different a journey. It’s, it’s awareness, it’s acceptance, it’s loving myself. And that can empower how I can stop that thing from from sabotaging maybe my leadership? Yeah.
Aoife O’Brien 42:21
Yeah. Really, really interesting. And, and, you know, we’re not gonna get into it today. I think we wrap things up in a minute due to time. But this idea of self sabotage has definitely come up on the podcast before and certainly has come up for me and conversations that I have with people as well, that subconsciously we sabotage ourselves because of fear because of our conditioning, because we’re afraid maybe of succeeding in some cases as well. So it’s a really interesting concept. I think, this idea of self sabotage. Ian, maybe you share with us a little bit about the story behind Morpheus that you mentioned at the start. And if you want to let people know how they can connect with you as well?
Ian Hatton 43:08
Certainly. So the story is that I was working with some some friends, we were sort of playing around who are we mythically or mystically, you know, just a playful idea, but perhaps, with a deeper truth attached to it. And, and we all kind of went away and thought about it, and we came back and, and this one was Gandalf. And this one was River from the serenity being if you know anything about that, and, and so on, and they got to me, and I said, I have no idea. And and my, my best friend’s wife looked at me said but it’s so obvious, and I said, What do you mean? And she said, you are Morpheus and I said ah I wish I was, I could never be Morpheus and everybody else you could just see the wheels turning and said, but you are Morpheus. And of course Morpheus, you know is the Greek god of dreams, the one who awakens dreams in others. We had Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series with the lead characters Morpheus and they say in many ways Morpheus of the matrix movies was also based on the Sandman character from Neil Gaiman. And and you know, Morpheus is the one who believes when others have stopped believing, well, this is not the hero, but as the one who raises up the hero. Morpheus is, is the one who awakens the dream and awakens people to who they really are and what they’re really here for. And and it’s taken me quite a journey. This was some 18 years ago, that I was told I’m Morpheus, and it’s been quite a journey. Yeah, that’s, that’s kind of who I am.
Aoife O’Brien 44:36
Wow. Powerful, powerful. And if people want to connect with you, and what’s the best way they can do that. And if you want to mention any events that you have coming up, or anything where people can kind of reach out and understand a bit more.
Ian Hatton 44:49
So the easiest is LinkedIn. You know, when you google Ian Hatton you’re going to find a movie producer in the US and so on. But if you go on to LinkedIn and you look at Ian Hatton, I have the Ian Hatton phrase, you know, so forward slash in have met me. So that’s the easiest way. And, and I don’t have any event but I’ve got a little invitation foryour people. And that is a beautiful little assessment called The Egg, the essence growth gap. And it’s a leadership assessment that will explore your current power, or where you are at in your conscious leadership journey. And there’s no sort of bad place to be this simply an awareness again, that we can then work with acceptance and see what we can do with it. And that is a little QR code that’s right there on my LinkedIn profile immediately. And people can go in and do it’s a free assessment. And that I think, will will take people on this journey of exactly what we’ve been talking about.
Aoife O’Brien 45:47
Yeah, it’s really interesting, you say that there’s no bad place to be because I think we tend to judge ourselves. You know, oh, no, I, I wasn’t aware of that. And now I’m aware, and I’m a terrible person, or whatever it might be. But we do tend to do that. But it’s, it’s really great to know that, like, it’s a judgment free space. You know, and you’re not allowed to judge yourself, either.
Ian Hatton 46:12
Conscious leadership is not a self flagellation space. It’s a space of awareness and going, Oh, wow, I’ve just been given a great gift. What can I do with it?
Aoife O’Brien 46:21
Yeah, yeah, like feedback as well. And yeah, I’m treating it as a gift. Ian, what does being happier at work mean to you?
Ian Hatton 46:30
Well, I’m gonna give you just two examples, because I could talk for hours on that subject. But let me just tell team that we were talking about the commitments is a particular commitment, which is excelling in your zone of genius. And the above the line version is this, I commit to expressing my full magnificence and to supporting and inspiring others to fully express their creativity and live in their zone of genius. And my observation is that when we do it ourselves, and we empower others to do the same, there is a happiness that comes, there’s a joy, you know, it’s that thing that but that’s so easy, it just, it just happens, it just flows from me. And it’s that state that better is really exciting. And by the way, the unconscious or below the line version is this, I commit to holding back and not realising my full potential by living in areas of incompetence, competence and excellence. And that shakes people up, because we often think that pinnacle is excellence. No, but pinnacle is genius. And that’s where true happiness is found in the workplace. And it’s it and I would say there’s two parts to it, because it’s something for me to, to know and bring. But it’s something for me to empower and enable in my people, and they then are going to be so much happier in what they’re doing. When, yeah, at least 20% of their day is spent in a zone of genius. It changes everything.
Aoife O’Brien 47:55
Yeah and I think for me, that’s a topic for an entire topic for a whole nother podcast episode if you’d be up for it –
Ian Hatton 48:06
I think, because the self sabotage one, I’ve got a whole methodology, well not methodology, a lot of experience in helping people in that area. And then yeah, this one the genius one is is is is massive. I’d love to love to come back.
Aoife O’Brien 48:20
Brilliant. Love it. Thank you so much for your time today. Ian, oh, it’s a pleasure to talk to you to listen to you. So really, really appreciate you sharing your wisdom with us today.
Ian Hatton 48:30
Thank you, it’s been a joy.
Aoife O’Brien 48:37
That was Ian Hatton talking all about conscious leadership. And I suppose how he moved from seeking out Authentic Leadership into more of a conscious leadership approach. And I absolutely loved that conversation. I would love for you to get involved in that conversation as well. If you check out the website, happieratwork.ie, you’ll find links to all of our social media platforms there.
I think one of the standout comments for me today was this idea of everyday waking up and thinking my number one job is me. So it’s not about other people. It’s about working on yourself. And, and one of the points that Ian made as well is about being prepared to do the work. So actually accepting that responsibility that it’s your responsibility. I love this, this idea as well. And you know, I’ve heard this many, many times that oftentimes we look outside of ourselves for solutions, we think that the solution is out there somewhere. But actually, the solution is not out there. The solution is internal. It’s within us. And life is about a journey. It’s about going on that journey and you’re never ever going to arrive. So it’s not a case of Ian and has arrived or I have arrived at some mystical destination where I have all the answers. It’s about going on your own journey and understanding yourself a little bit more. I loved what Ian had to say. as well about emotional intelligence. So, you know, I have, again, I have heard this before where some people think that it’s okay to be to, you know, bring their entire selves to work, including if that means that they’re being angry because they’re just being authentic to themselves. But it’s the emotional intelligence side of things means that you’re being you’re aware of what’s actually happening. But you’re able to relate that story inside you of what’s happening in a way that doesn’t hurt other people. II and also shared about this above the line versus below the line way of behaving. And a couple of the examples that he shared, where the obstacles that we have is particularly in relation to our mindset. So the need to be right, or the need to be an expert, is something that gets in the way of us being helpful or being kind to other people. And the other one he shared was about the victim mindset, so I’m not doing it. My leader doesn’t do it for me, therefore, I don’t need to do it for my team. And I’m wondering, is there something that you can relate to? I know, certainly in both of those cases, that’s something that I have experienced in the past. And maybe it’s something I need to be more aware of, in my interactions with people as well. But just something to think about for yourself, are you playing the victim? Or do you have this innate need to be right? And I think moving beyond that, as well, something that Ian shared from his own personal story, his own personal situation was, you know, digging a bit deeper of where does that need to be right actually come from? We also talked about listening as a superpower. So it enables people and empowers people to build a sense of trust. So connecting with people by listening, stimulating them by asking questions, and then challenging them, when they have the answers to those questions. Where would you go with this? So what is the next step for you? And the last thing I wanted to share from today’s episode is this idea of acceptance. So it’s a judgment free space, we’re not here to judge you. We’re not here to judge ourselves. And I think sometimes that’s actually really hard. You know, we have this tendency to want to judge ourselves, that we feel that we’ve done something bad if we haven’t known this up to now. But coming and approaching this from a place of acceptance, I will accept myself. Once I’ve changed, you know, it’s getting rid of that whole mentality. It’s the kind of mentality that doesn’t serve us very well at all. And it’s a similar idea to this, I’ll be happy when, you know, it’s external at some point in the future, rather than bringing it back to today and the present moment, and how can you improve your happiness now? How can you accept yourself now just as you are, and I think it’s so important that I mentioned this again, my number one job is me. So waking up with that thought, that belief, that attitude, that you are here to work on yourself every day, I would absolutely love to know what you thought of today’s episode. I’d love to get you involved in the conversation. I’d love to know what you are going to do differently as a result of listening to today’s episode. Is it something that resonated with you? Is it a journey that you’re already on? Has it sparked something in you that maybe you’re going to try and do things differently? Do let me know get involved in the conversation? Connect with me through happieratwork.ie and I would love to hear from you.
That was another episode of the Happier at Work podcast. I am so glad you tuned in today. If you enjoy today’s podcast, I would love to get your thoughts – head on over to social media to get involved in the conversation. If you enjoyed the podcast, I would love if you could rate, review it or share it with a friend. If you want to know more about what I do or how I could help your business, head on over to happieratwork.ie