How to become a ‘centered’ leader

In 2004, by all respects, Joanna Barsh had it all: a senior role at McKinsey & Company, a stylish apartment in New York, two beautiful daughters and a happy marriage. Yet Barsh says she felt invisible and lost, like she had “reached the end of the road.” She needed, she believed, to regain her sense of purpose in life.

So Barsch decided to embark on a journey — literally — to find that purpose. That year, she traveled the world and interviewed more than 200 women leaders, recording conversations that later became the basis of a learning program, “Centered Leadership.” The program, now offered through McKinsey, is designed to teach women how to create profound change within themselves, their teams and their organizations.

Barsh, the author of How Remarkable Women Lead, shared five dimensions of “Centered Leadership” on Jan. 30 as part of Vistage’s Premier Women In Leadership Network Event: How Remarkable Women Lead, which drew female executives from across the Vistage network. During her remarks, Barsh challenged the audience to reflect on their strengths and pinpoint the activities that fill them with energy. Developing this self-awareness, she explained, is necessary to become a person who leads with purpose.

While Barsh’s advice was directed towards female leaders, she cautioned that “this is not about who you are gender-wise. It’s about who you are as an individual.” Here are a few highlights from her talk.

Defining “Centered Leadership”

Do what fills you with energy

Set your intention for the day

Category: Leadership


Vistage Staff About the Author: Vistage Staff

Vistage facilitates confidential peer advisory groups for CEOs and other senior leaders, focusing on solving challenges, accelerating growth and improving business performance. Vistage member companies grow 2.2x fa…

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