Cécile Masson, leadership development and team building
Tammy: Can you tell me why your career is such an important part of your life? How does it fit into your life’s purpose?
Cécile: My work is driven by purpose. I focus on unfolding the potential of harmony within leadership practices. That’s quite a challenge as leadership is often associated with a certain style of behavior. With today’s global challenges, we need a variety of leadership styles to create solutions for all. For that, more femininity is needed in the decision-making process.
I work with women in business and politics, so they dare to speak their truth. I coach leaders to listen to the wisdom of their bodies on a daily basis. In Western society the head is well-educated, fast and creative, but life is more complex than that.
In my collective work I facilitate essential conversations between leaders, including at leadership retreats.
Tammy: What speaks to me most about your business is how you describe it as “generative” and “not too woowoo” (I think that was me paraphrasing). Can you tell a bit more about that?
Cécile: What I mean by generative is that I coach my clients to develop practices that support them to achieve their goals. I give them tools, exercises and insights that they can use repeatedly to train the neurological pathways the way they want. For instance, if somebody has unconsciously internalized a negative self-image (not beautiful enough, too big/small/stupid etc.) I can help them to change that inner torment into a positive mindset. Or if a person is close to burn-out because the work pressure is too high, I teach them how to relax even when they’re in a stressful situation and must stay highly-focused. Generative also means that I help my clients rebalance the masculine and feminine inside themselves. Many successful women have adopted behavior that imitates men and goes against their own nature. As a result, at some point their bodies tell them to stop. Many men also suffer from expectations placed on them. Changing patterns of thinking and behavior is tough. It takes practice, especially when in the past that way of behaving has contributed to a leader’s success.
Tammy: You have lived in several countries. Can you offer some wisdom about adjusting to different cultures?
I think it’s essential, especially for good leaders, to have lived outside their own culture and comfort zone. That’s where life starts. It makes a person more culturally agile, opens your mind and shows you that diversity is reality. You question your own assumptions and change habits that you took as a given. One size fits all is not the reality of today. When you realize it’s your own unconscious fears and biases that prevent you from meeting another person or culture with curiosity, your ego crumbles and you need to dig deeper. However, living abroad and remaining in the same circles or company doesn’t give you the opportunity to develop new skills and flexibility. The key skill is coming into your own no matter where you live.
Tammy: What role do you think our physical appearance has in our career success?
Cécile: You know I’ve been involved in inclusion and diversity initiatives for years and have had many conversations regarding looks. When you are the only person of color at a gathering, your physical appearance matters. When you are the only woman in politics, your appearance matters simply because you do not fit the norm. I think anybody should be free to choose how they want to present themselves to the world at any time, and everybody should be educated to look past the color of the skin, gender, or any other physical aspect. In the end looks can help but they should never be the guideline to respect or disrespect, to like or not like somebody.
Having said that, I love nice materials and clothes that are easy. Since today many meetings are online, personal comfort is key. I think the one thing to remember is to take care of yourself with the gift of a kind smile for yourself and others.
More about Cécile
Cécile is an independent consultant. Working for corporates, businesses and politicians in this capacity for two decades, she strengthens cooperation and co-creation through harmony and mutual understanding. She supports leaders and their teams in unfolding their potential through dialogue, and helps them fall in love with life again. For the past ten years she’s also focused on strengthening the voice of the feminine in these environments. Cécile is the author of the novel Rose, letters of love to life that invites the reader to ponder on spiritual practices and the presence of human kind in nature. Born and raised in Switzerland, Cécile is a polyglot, an mBIT master Coach & Trainer, a new emerging field that weaves neuroscience with old wisdom traditions. She’s the happy mother of two grown children.
Learn more about Cécile on her website, and connect with Cécile on LinkedIn.