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Elan Bailey
Founder of UpLevel Leadership Academy helping individuals and organizations develop the competency, capacity and community to adapt, grow and thrive.

Vital Leadership in Times of Crisis

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of leading a conversation on Surviving to Thriving with the Transformative Learning Community.

Based on last week’s events, I decided to throw out my original intent for the conversation and instead get connected to how the folks in the room were feeling, meeting and/or grappling with the complexity of current conditions.

It was a moving and authentic conversation with leaders in our community who dedicate their lives and work to supporting others through higher education, growth and transformation. Perhaps because of the timing, many of them had not yet had the place and…


Whether you’ve actually done improv or not many people are familiar with the idea of Yes, And. More than just a fun way of improvising the scene, it’s an opportunity to alter our relationship to ourselves and to life. We get to suspend all of the resistance and conditions we place on how life and others should be.

“Yes,” is the act of accepting what is, as perfect for the moment instead of shoulding all over ourselves and each other.

“And,” is the act of bringing yourself into relationship to what is happening. It is a way of including yourself…


What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word greatness? Do you think of a visionary leader you once worked for or aspire to be? Does the brilliant jerk in your office who you have a love hate relationship with come to mind? Or maybe you recall that report you rocked last week or the magnificent sunset you woke up to this morning?

When I say greatness I’m not talking about the genius or charismatic leader (although I do have a secret obsession with Bobby Axelrod), the all-star athlete, or the boastful over-achieving colleague with a long…


On Developing Thriving Teams and Leaders

“When you ask people about what it is like being part of a great team, what is most striking is the meaningfulness of the experience. People talk about being part of something larger than themselves, of being connected, of being generative. It becomes quite clear that, for many, their experiences as part of truly great teams stand out as singular periods of life lived to the fullest. Some spend the rest of their lives looking for ways to recapture that spirit.”

Senge, Peter M.. The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization.

2020 has shown us both…


https://stock.adobe.com/ca/images/adaptability-of-growing-trees/38342951?prev_url=detail

After decades of investment in emotional intelligence, communications and conflict training, unconscious bias training, performance incentives and people perks in the name of leadership development and culture building we haven’t had the breakthroughs we’d hoped for.

The retention, engagement and burnout data shows that something is eroding the happiness, health and high potential of your people and along with it your investments. But what, exactly? And what to do about it?

Deeper still, ideological division and conflict is more pervasive now. The many public uprisings over the last four years reflect our struggle with and in some cases complete inability…


Adobe Stock ~ TanyaJoy

From Espoused Values to Embodied Culture

When you’re operating inside of a competitive worldview and you create strategic initiatives to elevate the historically marginalized and eradicate inequality, you can expect backlash from those who have the most to gain by maintaining power over others. It’s an inevitable part of game theory. “Predators” don’t like to lose and don’t play fair.

So I’m shocked but not surprised by Trump’s latest executive order putting the kibosh on diversity training in the US. There are always going to be people who deny the imbalances of power so that they can continue to profit from them.

But Trump’s executive order…


Image By freshidea

2020 has hit like a tsunami.

Before the pandemic, social uprising, political divisiveness and climate change impacts of this year, we were already dealing with how to:

  • lead our lives, work and organizations with purpose, but no playbook for guaranteed success,
  • struggling to adapt and grow as we go, while leading ourselves and others,
  • in an ever-changing and often hostile environment, without losing our authentic selves.

Whether you lead yourself, a household, team or organization, you were already swimming in a sea of complexity. But 2020 has brought unrelenting waves of it.

The official term is VUCA — which stands…


Photo by “My Life Through A Lens” on Unsplash

As a 50 year black woman, single mother, entrepreneur and leader who has worked in predominantly male industries for the last 25 years, I could walk around being offended every day, all day. But I don’t.

I’ve been quietly watching as we flood our social, emotional and physical spaces with an ever-growing set of rules for how to be together as human beings, and I’m left with the experience in many ways of feeling more separate and alone than I ever did before.

Losing the ability to hug in an effort to save lives is one thing. But having to…


You’ve heard the saying, “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” How does this apply in running your business?

No matter how vast the opportunity around you, if you see the world as hostile, your background conversations centre on scarcity and separateness and how to survive being a victim or overcome it. In the process your decisions and actions are guided by a hidden agenda to play it small and safe or manipulate and dominate your way forward.

If you see the world as friendly, you see a world…


Adobe Stock 240956139

Being 100% Responsible for My Life

2018 was a phenomenal year of transformation for me by all measures.

I started the year struggling with burnout, no longer being at my best in a job I had so deeply loved. And went on to fulfill on some of my greatest accomplishments including:

  • completing a 25 year transition to a career/business in people development,
  • starting a relationship with the love of my life after being single for over a decade,
  • learning just what it takes to live love as a practice in all areas of my life (which was my intention for 2018), and
  • discovering my deepest source…

Elan Bailey

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