What Is Holistic Leadership & How Does An Organization Benefit From It?

Holistic leadership requires leaders to bring their whole selves to the table. It is not about the skill but the approach toward work and their values, character, and mindset.

To take this idea forward, effective holistic leaders encourage others to do the same. Achieving this leadership level requires improving your skills, expanding your knowledge, and strengthening the basics. This would mean taking a course or joining a program.

What Is Holistic Leadership?

Holistic leadership views leadership as an integral component of the organizational system. It is a component best understood by other parts or the whole organization. Leadership becomes a function that the entire organization impacts.

Leadership is more defined in terms of an action that anyone in an organization can execute. The action that many people carry out will have a major impact on how the organization will change.

The Principles Of Holistic Leadership

Holistic leadership builds strong leadership with the framework and sets the tone for team-building behavior activities.

Though the principles of holistic leadership are high when it comes to high-functioning teams, practicing this form of leadership is one of the major challenges that the team faces.

Holistic leaders support each other and contribute to everyone’s success. They are willing to challenge and change when necessary.

This is going to give up the temptation to celebrate and blame. Holistic leaders work with each other to develop a positive environment where positive results are expected.

Importance Of Holistic Leadership

Investing in your team can be viewed as an investment in yourself. The teams have to be greater than the sum of their parts.

The moment you lead the team and help them grow, your self-image improves. They are going to consider you a thinker and not a speaker. Below are the ways in which the importance of holistic leadership is highlighted.

Your perspective is broadened.

The perspective is the way by which your experience is broadened. When you develop a new perspective, you will develop self-awareness.

A different perspective can lead to a series of benefits, from problem-solving to an in-depth understanding of the problem that you are facing.

This is something that is going to take place over the course of your career, but if you invest in yourself, it can help you learn within a short period.

Disregard old habits.

Part of being an effective leader is recognizing the things that will make you ineffective. There could be certain old habits that limit your growth. It is a challenge to focus on important commitments and priorities.

Investing in your health and personal development can help you find better ways to do things that would help your old habits break down faster.

It helps you step outside of your comfort zone and overcome the old habits that prevent you from growing.

Leading by example

Holistic leadership considers an individual’s skill sets and outcomes and the people around them. Organizations take notice of leaders who are investing in themselves, and that is how self-improvement becomes part of the culture of the company.

Be aware that great leaders are made, not born. When you continue investing in yourself, you are developing a growth mindset that positively impacts your team.

The Holistic Leadership Characteristics That Improve Employee Performance

Business leadership is not about what you do but about who you are.

A modern business leader needs to incorporate such values that inspire others to follow, as it develops trust and authenticity in their leadership roles.

So let us look at the characteristics and how you may develop them


An employee is likely to do an outstanding job with an inspirational leader. The inspiration that is envisaged by the vision statement should be part of the leader’s bandwidth.

They have to be people whom the employees admire and respect, and they are going to feel a strong association with them.

Traditional leadership may teach practical skills like delegation scheduling, and organizations may fall short of creating inspiring personalities.

Holistic leadership enables leaders to develop personal traits so others can follow them.


The major source of frustration for the leaders is the ones who are obvious about their issues and difficulties.

Leaders who shut themselves off from their teams, either mentally or physically, may make the employees feel disempowered, which would take away the drive to deliver the best work.

A quality leader is aware of everything that is happening around them and can respond to the needs of the staff.


The best leaders are ambitious, and in the first place, their personal ambition drives them to leadership positions.

However, there arises a point where you need to balance your personal goals with the company and the team around them.

The best leaders would be able to find the balance. Without losing their spark, they maintain a fair view of the business and balance all considerations to achieve a notable outcome for your business.


Transparency is a trait that is applicable at the internal and external levels, which is something that starts with the leaders.

Adopting an honest approach will make the internal culture open, honest, and engaged. Even the trust of consumers will grow.

You may empower the leaders to become more transparent by agreeing on what information cannot be shared with the employees.

Being aware of the boundaries will enable leaders to adopt an honest approach when needed.


Company ethics are the most powerful driver of all. Strong ethics give the business a degree of longevity and transparency that the employees will find inspiring.

For a company’s ethics to have maximum impact, the leaders should be shining examples, meaning they have to make their company’s ethics their own.

The Characteristics Of Holistic Leaders

A holistic leader is aware of how to integrate their values and character into a leadership module. They are fully aware that they need to bring their whole team into leadership roles.

A few characteristics set apart a holistic leader from the others in the game.

Content List Of Characteristics Of Holistic Leader

  • Virtuos
  • Ethical
  • Transparent
  • Trusted
  • Capable
  • Balanced
  • Aware
  • Inspired
  • Servant


The moment virtues become a part of an individual, the person moves towards virtuous actions. These emerge in the form of decisions that define moral excellence.

A critical aspect of holistic leadership is humility, and a humble leader can accept faults and seek forgiveness if the situation warrants it.


Leaders are confronted with situations when the scenarios are not in their favor. When it related to the ethical treatment of people, it all boils down to how you want to treat them, which is the golden rule.


Honest leaders are open, direct, and forthright in the manner in which they communicate. This does not mean they are indiscriminate with the timing or information being shared.

Rather, they are aware people are impacted by certain decisions and are willing to share the information at the relevant time.


When truthful leaders are bound to build strong relationships with their co-workers. It also becomes a foundation of trust, indicating that the work is done effectively and efficiently.

Trust is something that comes not only from character but also from competence.


This characteristic is to get the job done in a functional manner. An effective leader needs to craft a vision, engage others to follow it, execute the plan, and obtain results.

Though character matters greatly, a leader will not be effective without the competencies that would make them capable.


Holistic leaders also have a balanced view of others and apply themselves as a composite of mind, body, and spirit.

The leaders are going to take good care of themselves and support others when it comes to self-care.


Awareness is important in holistic leadership, as it requires emotional intelligence.

Leaders who are not open to feedback with an open mind make themselves vulnerable to blind spots. Self-awareness also impacts humility, as it is the ability to see others as we are.


There is a debate centered around the topic of whether a holistic leader is inspiring or inspired.

When a leader brings authenticity and inspiration, people can take solace in the fact that the leader is genuine. There is a particular aspect of inspiration that is linked to faith.


A lot has been said about servant leadership in the last few years. It would begin with the feeling that you want to serve, and they are the ones who are going to get the work done with people.

Holistic Leadership

A Holistic Model For Leadership Development

Developing leadership skills throughout the organization has become a necessity. It would be rare for organizations to develop leaders with the same focus as managers. Holistic leadership consists of three major components, as follows:

Work skills

Work skills mean that leaders are technically good at what they do. If the leaders do not have technical competencies, they are not going to gain the trust or respect of anyone.

Without trust, people in a changing organization are not going to follow anyone.
It is proficiency in work skills that is obvious for most people.

This is the main reason people get promoted to higher levels of authority: they are good at their work.

People skills

People skills are those abilities where an individual interacts with a group of people, often in stressful situations.

These turn out to be interpersonal skills that are visible to anyone who is watching a leader.

When someone has a strong proficiency in people skills, he is more likely to move up the hierarchy than someone who is less engaging.

An organization could be well managed, but there is bound to be a leadership deficit.


Self-skills turn out to be interpersonal competencies that set leaders apart. The self-skills that are invisible from the outside when you are looking at them.

This is not going to mean that people with strong skills are perfect, but they are open when it comes to their shortcomings.

When self-skills are present, there is bound to be a degree of genuineness and authenticity that is impossible to fake. Principles and values are obvious with the above approach.

How Does Traditional Leadership Differ From The Traditional Approach?

The traditional leadership approach focuses on individual behaviors and outcomes; a holistic form of leadership takes a comprehensive view of the organization. It will not focus on the individuals but on the wider context within which they operate.

Holistic leadership also tends to be flexible and adaptable compared to other approaches. By emphasizing overall work performance rather than focusing on traditional metrics like profit or revenue, these leaders can adjust their strategies according to internal and external needs.

How You Can Go On To Apply Holistic Leadership In Your Organization

Numerous steps can be taken by leaders to effectively incorporate the principles of holistic leadership in their organizations.

Outline the importance of values, culture, and beliefs.

A successful organization requires a set of attitudes, beliefs, and values among the employees to function properly.

Though this may turn out to be an obvious requirement, a lot of businesses do not give these points enough consideration when they are implementing new policies or making strategic decisions.

Encourage a sense of vision and purpose.

A vital aspect of holistic leadership is helping the employees see the bigger picture and how they can contribute to the long-term success of the business as a whole.

To achieve this, leaders need to take their time in communicating the company’s goals and vision, along with the role played by each employee, to achieve success.

Foster interactions and synergistic relationships.

The key principle is to encourage collaboration and interactions at all organizational levels. This will require the leaders to foster synergy among the employees, who tend to differ in terms of skills, experience, and knowledge.

The focus is on continuous learning and improvement.

The most successful organizations are bound to have scope for improvement, which is the main reason why holistic leadership focuses on continuous improvement for success.

An ideal way to do this is to encourage employees at all levels to develop relevant skills by learning from their peers and what they have shared with others.

Seeking input from a variety of sources.

Leaders must incorporate feedback from various departments or divisions within an organization to be effective.

This is achievable through focus groups, employee surveys, and other methods that allow people to contribute their skills in an effective way.

Promote wholesale well-being

A key principle of holistic leadership is to focus on the well-being of a person as a whole; it is not about performance metrics or behavior.

This would mean encouraging healthy habits like sufficient sleep and good nutrition that allow employees to connect and establish relationships.

Encourage risk-taking and experimentation.

When faced with ambiguity or uncertainty, many managers adopt a safe approach where they stick to things that have worked for them in the past.

But a holistic leader understands that such an approach can hinder long-term growth and development.

Rather, they encourage the employees to experiment with new ideas and learn from their mistakes by moving forward.

How Does Traditional Leadership Differ From The Traditional Approach


If you want to become a holistic leader or are likely to employ this leadership model in your organization, there are numerous things you need to consider.

But you need to be aware that any leadership model is going to be effective if it goes on to address who the leader is as a person and not simply resort to what they can do. This is a key trait of holistic leadership.

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