Wholehearted Leadership with Leslie Bosserman

Leslie M. Bosserman, M.Ed., CPCC,

Leslie M. Bosserman, M.Ed., CPCC, is a Leadership Coach and Culture Consultant with a background in strengths-based leadership development and applied positive psychology. We met at her office at The Urban Hive in Sacramento where we had a conversation about creative wellbeing in relation to her concept of Wholehearted Leadership™.

Wholehearted Leadership™ 

"It’s 4:37pm on a Friday afternoon. How are you feeling? Energized or completely drained? Now consider how you normally end your workweek. How would you like to feel instead? When was the last 4me you felt inspired at work? Or do you just “get through” each day, only to start again the next morning?"

These are some of the questions that Leslie ask her clients before helping them lead a life with more energy and an increased feeling of purpose. After years of experience, Leslie has identified the following Six Rules for Leading With Intention that help her and her clients in the pursuit of practicing Wholehearted Leadership.

  1. Live With Integrity
  2. Make Intentional Choices
  3. Get Uncomfortable Often
  4. Detach From Outcomes
  5. Stand In Your Power
  6. Create a Daily Legacy

These all come with a short and useful description in her recent ebook, The Wholehearted Leadership™ Revolution. In our conversation about creative wellbeing, we quickly got to talk about strengths and how sourcing your leadership from these, can be a key factor to creating your own wellbeing and allowing your creativity to flourish. 

The Balcony and Basement of Creativity

Tom Rath and his studies regarding strength based leadership and wellbeing can teach us more about the connection between creativity and wellbeing. These studies are quite comprehensive with eight books published by Tom Rath between 2004 and now, amongst them several NY Times bestsellers, where some are being added to my reading list. A most interesting concept from Tom Rath is the concept of the balcony and basement of strengths - where each strength is thought of as having a good expression – the balcony – and a bad expression – the basement. This leads me to wonder about how creativity fits into this theory.

In this Tom Rath view strengths as being the sum of talent and investment, and defines 34 main strengths that are used as base for defining other strengths; a list of the 34 strengths with corresponding balconies and basement can be found here

Talent + investment = Strength
Talent is a naturally occurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied. 
Strength is the ability to provide consistent, near-perfect performance in a given activity. 

As creativity is not a part of this list, I ask readers to take part in an exercise:


  1. Define for yourself what creativity means to you.
  2. Identify the balcony and basement for creativity by asking yourself when being creative enables you and disables you in your work. Get inspiration from the list

To me creativity is the combined ability to identify needs, answer these with novel ideas and take measures to successfully implement these in the World. Creativity is thus linked to ideation, empathy and strategic in the list as well as some of the Six Rules for Leading with Intention. To exercise our creativity we need to make an intentional choice of wanting to change something, No. 2, and be confident that we actually can, i.e. stand in our power, No. 5. Working creatively often involves getting uncomfortable, No. 3, because we are not sure where we are going or what will come out of it, No. 4. In the end, working creatively derives from a desire to do things differently and create a daily legacy - and sometimes intergenerational one, No. 6.

Below is my balcony and basement for creativity - I invite you to make one for yourself and share it with others to

 Left: Use this illustration for any strength and identify its balcony and basement to know when your strength enables and when it disables you. Right: My own suggestions of the balcony and basement for creativity.

Left: Use this illustration for any strength and identify its balcony and basement to know when your strength enables and when it disables you. Right: My own suggestions of the balcony and basement for creativity.


More about Leslie:

Leslie runs a multi-disciplinary practice called Lead With Intention™ where she coaches, trains, and consults with clients around the world, helping leaders and their teams revitalize their individual lives and organizational environments. She regularly shares her Leading Insights™ on her blog and recently published an ebook on Wholehearted Leadership™ that is available for free download. Leslie works with a variety of clients ranging from top executives at worldwide corporations to creative entrepreneurs and non-profit teams and is currently based in Northern California.

Martin Dyrman Hansen