The 5 Ps of Leading from the Heart with Dalia Feldheim


How can we gauge the power and impact of leading from the heart? Often overlooked, leading from this space can be empowering, and helps team members feel seen, safe and supported.

This week’s episode features Dalia Feldheim, a visionary leader reshaping the landscape of business leadership. Dalia’s journey began with a mission to inspire unconventional leadership approaches. Her pivotal role in the “Like a Girl” campaign at P&G underscores her knack for resonant messaging.

Dalia Feldheim

While working in an ICU as a Registered Nurse, Avery noticed that the majority of the reasons people found themselves there were because of illnesses and diseases linked to chronic stress. In 2015 she decided to get out of the reactive side of medicine, and now helps people prevent and even reverse the negative health effects of stress through a variety of mindset strategies, embodiment and somatic practices, meditation, philosophy and yoga.


Dalia’s narrative of triumph isn’t devoid of challenges. A poignant encounter with a supervisor ignited her drive to harmonize authenticity in a dynamic environment. She imparts strategies for integrating personal identity into leadership at its most effective, and delves into the nuances of gender-diverse leadership styles.

At the core of this episode are the “5 Ps of Leading from the Heart,” a framework woven with empathy, empowerment, and ethics. Dalia sheds light on combating burnout through heart-centered leadership and transforming feedback into a catalyst for growth.

Discover her insights on fostering psychological safety, cultivating complementary teams, and unearthing pivotal moments of self-awareness. Dalia’s calming ritual and musical connection offer a glimpse into the soul of her authentic leadership philosophy. Tune in to be inspired, enlightened, and equipped to lead with heart.

We talk about:

  • [3:20] What started her on the journey of encouraging business leaders to lead differently

  • [6:30] The “stickiness” behind the Like a Girl Campaign that made it so poignant

  • [9:20] Having a past manager diminish her for her passions

  • [14:20] Adapting ourselves to fit the mold of the environment we’re in

  • [15:30] How to confidently bring all parts of you to your leadership style

  • [17:05] The differences between men and women leaders

  • [19:25] The 5 Ps of leading from the heart

  • [21:25] Burnout as a silent crisis

  • [24:40] ROI – interaction versus investment

  • [27:20] How psychological safety starts

  • [31:30] Looking at feedback as medicine

  • [37:50] Hiring complimentary skills

  • [46:55] A moment that gave her deepend self awareness

  • [47:45] A practice or ritual that helps keep her in a calm or more regulated state

  • [48:40] A song or genre of music that makes her feel connected to something bigger than herself

Show More Show Less

Carolyn: Dahlia Feldheim is the founder of FLO Leadership Consultancy, where her work enables organizations to promote a more authentic, happy, and psychologically safe working culture. Before founding FLO, Dahlia spent over two decades as a C suite Global Marketing Executive at Procter and Gamble, where she led work on some of the world’s most iconic ad campaigns, two of them being Tampax Mother Nature and Always Like a Girl.

Dahlia holds an executive master’s degree in consulting and coaching for change from INSEAD. Business School, along with a Happiness Facilitator Diploma from the Happiness Studies Academy in partnership with Miami University. Dahlia is on a mission to share her insights and learning, successes and struggles to help shape the new generation of leaders.

She teaches the Science of Happiness and Resilience as an adjunct professor at the Singapore Management University. and works with top technology companies to bring resilience and joy to the workplace. She has a bestselling book, and she also has a TED talk.

Get ready for this fast paced and extremely insightful conversation between Dahlia and I. Dahlia has such an amazing combination of experience and also with research. So in our conversation, you are going to hear us talk about some of the research that Dahlia references in her work. She’s also going to share some stories, about being a leader and also training some leaders.

We’ll refer and hear more about her five Ps, which are the basis of how we can lead with more balance, balancing our heart and our head so that we can show up as our full self. The five Ps, just to give you a little bit of a heads up, purpose, power, perspective, people, and positivity. Hope you enjoy the show.

Welcome evolve listeners. We’ve got another episode for you this week. And this week’s guest is coming to us from the other side of the world. I’m so excited to introduce everyone to Dahlia Feldheim. Thank you so much Dahlia for joining 

Dalia: us. Thank you so much. Lovely to be here, caroline.

Carolyn: Yeah. So, I came across your work and heard about your work through, a campaign that you had, been a part of several years ago. Well, I guess it’s not that several and make seven or eight years ago now. how about we start there? Just tell us a little bit about, what. Started this journey of encouraging business leaders to really start to think how to lead 

Dalia: differently.

So actually, I mean, the commercial was the elite, like a girl commercial that you run like a girl, sorry, commercial that you’re referring to. We actually did for our feminine care business back in 2014 for always. and I can say it’s probably, you know, where one of my proudest moments. I mean, we gave the brief to the agency and I remember when they came back with the commercial run like a girl, we all had tears in our eyes.

I mean, I felt like everything I’ve been working as a director for Procter and Gamble kind of came to life with this campaign. we basically, you know, asked young girls what it means to run like a girl. And they say, What do you mean? It means run as fast as you can, but something changes during puberty, and suddenly it becomes an insult.

And our goal with that commercial was to change the meaning of words. So like, well, basically means be proud to be who you are. Yeah. So basically, you know, I’ll tell you about my leadership journey in a bit. But, you know, I’ve spent 17 years in Procter Gamble. I call them my years of flow because I was just completely aligned with my purpose, both as a marketing director, you know, building teams, training and development within the organization, creating campaigns that really inspire and empower.

You know, consumers to be the best that they can be. So those were amazing 17 years with Brockton gamble. But after 17 years, I actually moved to another company and nevermind the name, but it’s a fortune 500 company. I love this. I love the global but one month into the role, I got a new boss and me a short while to realize that him and I, or.

You know, like fire and water. So I’m all the fire and energy and people and team building. And he was all about numbers and scorecard and ROI. And, you know, like ROI or you die. So those three years, you know, I stayed three years in those assignments. I’ll talk a little bit more. I guess that’s what pushed me to write the book because I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly.

Yeah. And I decided to go study it. So I actually, you know, want to now, rephrase, you know, like a girl, but more in the world of leadership. Well, and, and I 

Carolyn: want to come back to that because as somebody who, and I don’t like this word, but I was called a tomboy growing up and I had no brothers or sisters.

But I, I don’t know, I just kind of went out there. So you’re, you know, the, like a girl, campaign, I kind of had an immediate reaction. I’m like, throw like a girl. Cause that’s, it wouldn’t, it wasn’t run like a girl. I was always told you don’t throw like a girl. And so I did have a bit of a, like, Oh, why is this like a girl campaign?

Like, it should be like a human. So can you just take us back to how, how we can take these concepts, and, you know. People like us who can do all of these things and want it to be like, you know, how can we show up as humans? How did that campaign have so much? I guess stickiness for people and to be able to turn it into like, how can we see each other for who we are?

Dalia: So I was a tomboy as well. my brother was a professional or when not a professional, but he played football. So I wasn’t going for years. but then, you know, in the army, I was a platoon commander. later, you know, I studied psychology and business, and I never felt like a girl was.

Was much of an insult, but for me, it came, you know, when I, you know, the campaign was really about how can we turn things on their heads, right? How can we turn what’s kind of, you know, young kids start off saying, Hey, I’m amazing how I am. Right. But then socialization comes into play and you start questioning yourself.

And that campaign was really, I mean, I can tell you, I’m really proud of a lot of things then PNG, The business results is one. I mean, it won,you know, Forbes ranked it as one of the most influential campaigns of the decade. But for me, as a mom of three, what got me most excited is when my youngest daughter called me from school all excited, mom, they’re showing you ad in social studies.

So more than a commercial, it really became. And until today, it’s been almost nine years, right? Until today I get phone calls. Oh, you won’t believe it. You know, someone in my son’s, football. Said, Oh, you run like a girl. And the coach kind of brought them all together and showed them the campaign. And it’s really, you know, the, the, like a girl campaign, you know, the advertising campaign for always.

Was really a, a provocation, a mind opener, right thing is when I’m now talking about the leadership, the leadership journey. I never felt doing things like a girl was much of an insult, right? Yeah, but I had this experience that I talk about in the 10. Yeah, with this challenging a boss that actually did challenge me on being a girl and suddenly, you know, everything that I thought was my strengths, my passion, my commitment to people was not only not appreciated, it was actually denigrated and talk about in the Ted is really when.

You know, I had an initial experience way, way back with Procter and Gamble, where I was so frustrated about something and a tear appeared in my eye and that boss at the time, you know, so six months into the business. His name was Jim. And he kind of looked me dead in the eye and he said something, you know, I’ll forever remember.

He said, Dalia, don’t ever be embarrassed for crying in the office again, because it’s a sign of passion and passion is your superpower. Yeah. 17 years in PNG passion was my superpower. Right. And everyone always said my passion was contagious and I could see how, you know, I would move hills, right? You would close the door on me and I’ll come into the windows.

I never took no for an answer and not in a impolite way, but it was like, you know, everything is possible when you’re operating from a state of passion and purpose. 

And yet when I came to this second experience, right, you know, when I was sitting in my office in my, my new boss’s office, and he was kind of giving me feedback and I love feedback, right, but it was very.

It wasn’t tough love, which we used to, you know, here in, it was, there was no love. It was just tough and benegrating, humiliating and belittling. And I’m getting, you know, frustrated, but I’m holding it in because I was a C suite, the only woman on the team, but then he started insulting my team and anyone who’s ever been, you know, a team leader, a parent, you know, at least for me, that’s kind of where my unfairness.

and it’s a alert, you know, and frustration mounted. And yeah, when I get frustrated, a reaction is I tear up. Yeah, he looked at me and he gave me a box of tissues. And for a moment, I had this one feeling remember in my first boss, but then I noticed something weird and he smiled and he turned around the tissue box and on the other side was a handmade sticker he prepared in advance which read dahlia’s tissue box.

Box. He prepared this joke, right, which he thought was funny. You know, he did everything to make me cry and he thought that was very entertaining. And you know, every time I share it, everyone goes like, can’t be, can’t be, we can’t believe it. Right. but the reality is, you know, that was my reaction.

And I said, You know, this is an HR complaint and he just lent back and he said, Oh, stop being so emotional. It’s just boy banter. I know you have a sense of humor. So suddenly this tomboy in me, right. You know, I never felt it was a weakness to be passionate. You know, I hold my heart on my sleeve, but that’s why I’m so good at what I do, you know, as a marketeer.

And suddenly, you know, everything was questioned. And I stayed there for three years. You know, cause I’m, you know, I kept on saying, I’m not going to quit. I’m a gym, right? But those three years were kind of fascinating for me because. I tried absolutely everything I knew I learned on Managing Up, right?

First year I gave honest feedback. I tried to change, you know, to coach, to, to offer advice. And I very quickly learned you can’t change someone that doesn’t want to change, right? So second year was a little bit about the flights, right? I avoided it. And that was a bad year because I tried to change myself to fit in a mold.

Of leadership that, you know, process first, you know, so I felt like at the end of the year, I delivered the results, but I felt like I left my heart and my arts. Mm-hmm. the way. Right? Right. And so third year, what saved me was actually I went to an alumni event with my previous company with p and g.

And when I walked in, I, I got something very important called perspective. I kind of literally realized, That what I heard on the stage talking about servant leadership and take care of your people and the business takes care of yourself. That’s what culture should look like. And I’m in a toxic environment.

And this is really important because, you know, we’re all smart people, but there’s this, you know, cognitive dissonance. I’m not a victim. I can change it. I’m yes. So you keep trying from within to change it. And the reality is, you know, that’s when I realized I’m in a toxic environment. Yeah. Yeah. I cannot change someone that doesn’t want to change.

I’m not willing to change to a state that I change who I am. Right. I realized I must kind of, you know, jump. It was actually funny. I had this analogy in my head of a frog in boiling water. And when I did my thesis later on about kind of a toxic environment. Almost all my 10, you know, interviewees mentioned feeling like a frog in boiling water.

Wow. Humans, we kind of know we can fix it. So that was my thesis. So when I left, I said to myself, what a waste of human potential, you know, how sad look at this, you know, and I had, you know, a case study of one, right. In the one environment on, I, I think I was one rated, which is top rated every single year of the seven.

Same person in another environments. Okay. You know, they thought I delivered but realistically I know I, I gave them 10% of my abilities right because you’re so busy defending yourself. Yeah, right. So that’s kind of what led me if you ask me kind of what gave me the drive and to pivot my career, and today you know I decided to go and study it.

Yeah. Research is research. So I did my master’s in organizational psychology and in SEAD. And my research question was, can you of a toxic environment? 

Carolyn: Oh, wow. Okay. Wait, before you go there, this is, I just have to, I have to pause because I can relate to so much of what you’re saying in how we try to adapt ourselves to the environment that we in and the provocation that I really appreciate that you’re bringing into the leadership discussion is.

How can we bring all parts of ourselves, which we hear people talk about, like be authentic, bring all yourselves in, but our processes and the way we get our profits don’t always align to that. And so where you’re going to go next with, you know, your research and what you wrote about is helping us as.

You know, there could be listeners out here right now who feel like, Oh, my gosh, I’m not able to do my best work. I am feeling that this, isn’t getting the best of me. I’m not bringing my best self and, and I hope that where we, you know, they can learn from your experience, your research to say, okay, well, you have some choices you can make.

Yes, you may be able to find another job. That might not always be the case for people, but then if you can’t, what are some things you can do to make sure that you’re bringing all aspects of yourself? Like. Thank you. The tension between sort of the left brain 

Dalia: and the right brain.

So that’s a very important point. So I think, you know, the, the lead, like a girl is really a provocation. It’s a, there’s no such thing, you know, feminine, masculine brain. We all have within us traits that historically were considered masculine or feminine. Now there’s positive masculine, okay. The logic, the direction, there’s positive feminine, empathy, intuition.

A good leader needs to be rotating between the, the two. The issue is that the business world has collapsed into what my friend Raj Sisota, who wrote Conscious Capitalism, A, you know, a nearly my bat, they call it the wounded masculinity where it’s power over people versus power with people, competition versus collaboration.

So in that environment, we either adapt and we become, you know, the bitchy boss, whether it’s female because it’s the same, you know, or we even become wounded feminine, which is, you know, dependent or you know, too busy defending ourselves, right? Cause we lose our confidence and power. So the first thing, you know, in this whole theory is that you need to be, you do need to be kind of combining the positive feminine.

And the positive masculine, you do need to step into your assertiveness, right? So in the book, I kind of, you know, start off with research. Okay. And all the book is actually based on quite a bit of research, but one important one that I want to mention, because they talk a lot about, you know, female leadership and why do we not have more women in the workplace, et cetera, or women not as effective as men.

It’s very interesting. Harvard Business Review Research done by Folkman and all, and they in 2012 asked this question, you know, are women as effective as men, as leaders? And in 2012, when they did their research, they found, yes, women are as effective as men. You know, surprise, surprise, right? Mm-hmm. . The interesting point is that they repeated the exact question questionnaire in 2019, and then they found that women were not only as effective as men.

Women actually scored higher in 17 out of 19 leadership traits. Okay, things like empathy, intuition, teamwork and integrity, but also, you know, driving results. Innovating. So the point I’m trying to say in the book, the world has changed. Okay. Maybe, maybe in the seventies when it was all about, you know, line effect, efficiency, right.

Kind of logic and all kind of the, the left brain. You know, and that defined a little bit of how we see a leader, right? The point is that the world has changed dramatically, okay? Work from home, agility, even, even innovation. So think about it. And, you know, you cannot innovate when you don’t have empathy.

What is innovation? Innovation is understanding unmet, unspoken needs in a better way. You cannot do it when you don’t have empathy. Like I found, you know, one of my strengths was being able to listen to what’s not being heard, not being said, sorry, so that I can innovate better. So the point that I’m saying in the book is that the environment has changed, and yet our definitions of leadership haven’t.

So this is the time to basically change how we define leadership. Okay. And leadership is in the book. I called it lead like a girl, which is a provocation, but it’s basically connecting. It’s leading from the heart. Right. And when you ask what does exactly it means or what can we do, I actually share a model in the book, a very simple model.

I call it the five P of leading the hearts. Okay. Which is around the first is around purpose. Yeah, and back to what you said before purpose is really what am I good at what am I passionate about and how can I bring it to work every single day. Right. And we know from research that those who operate from strengths have two times the likelihood to succeed.

And yet only 30% of employees feel that they bring their strengths to work every day. So the first thing I do in every, and I do a lot of, you know, corporate training about how to become, you know, a hot, a hard first leader. And the first thing we do is start from our strengths, find our personal purpose, and then find the golden link to the company purpose.

Cause I tell you, you know, every time I share with a CEO, right, he gets really scared and I’m like, no, it’s not about leaving the job and working in the here and now. Now bring in your passion and it’s, you know, exponential energy that gets released. And even if it’s a passion project you do on a Thursday afternoon, you feel like you’re adding your unique value, right?

That’s kind of the first thing. 

Carolyn: Well, and, and you, you talked about energy there too, which I think is really important. and yes, maybe we don’t have energy meters hooked up to us. But when we can like drive this energetic, this passion, it helps fuel us to get us through all of like all of our performance at work.

So I really appreciate what you’re saying. 

Dalia: So actually the second B okay. Which is all around power, which is exactly because today. We don’t realize it’s not about managing time. It’s about managing energy. Yep. And what do we need to be doing? So leading from the heart is understanding our energy, what gives us energy, our people’s energy.

Okay. Also the physical aspect, right? Cause we can’t pour from an empty jug and we do know when the, you know, we’re in the midst of a major leadership crisis. And in the midst of this crisis, it’s actually those soft skills that are important. 

And part of this crisis. Is the burnout, right? We’re all, Sarah Melnyk talks about, you know, where the 21st disease /is exhaustion.

We’re all exhausted, right? Because we don’t stop to fill in our jugs. So this is everything we kind of know, but we don’t apply enough. This sleep, the movement. Even touch, you know, that’s a physical energy. We lost touch with touch and that’s kind of, so that’s the, that’s the energy piece, which is really important.

The third P is really everything that goes between our ears and this is all about our perspective. And it’s what glasses we choose to wear. It’s our growth mindsets, right? That we talk a lot about kind of now in the workplace about really understanding, you know, any barriers and opportunity for growth, learning from our failures.

And so, so this mindset, you know, for me, it was when I went to this alumni and I could step back. Yeah. Constantly in the waterfall with it. You know, we, we need every day to kind of close everything right and get the perspective of what’s important, you know, Boston group consultant force their employees to close their phone one afternoon and the computer right one afternoon.

A week complete digital detox, right? From 6 p. m. Until 9 p. m. The following day, productivity was up 74%. Wow. So we need to fight this both with the physical aspect, but also with the mental get out. Get out of the waterfall. I always say you still see what’s going on. You still have the emotions, but you gain perspective, right?

Carolyn: Yeah, it’s like, it’s like, we’re trying to keep up with everything coming down on the waterfall, but we can’t. And so it’s learning how to like, as you said, like, turn off just kind of close off the noise. Regenerate a little bit. and then we can come back in, but we don’t need to catch every little drip of water coming off the 

Dalia: waterfall.

Almost like saying, you know, the waterfall. Okay. I’m angry. Okay. I’m in the waterfall. I’m angry. It’s consuming me. I’m all kind of right. I stepped back and I said, Hmm, I have anger. Why do I have anger? Where is it coming from? What did I do about it? You know, I always say anger or conflicts. You know, are actually good things and I work a lot and they hear conflict and they get like, you know, guys, conflict means that I’m triggered by something and you’re triggered by something.

So for me to understand what’s important for you. 

So I always say it’s a three C’s conflict is an opportunity for connection. Yep. You know, curiosity. Yeah. Okay. Absolutely. So that’s kind of, you know, the, you know, the, the importance of kind of understanding those mindsets, understanding those discussions that we’re having.

Yeah. The fourth and probably the most important, and we know that is people, people, people. That’s the fourth P. People, relationships, I mean, the quality of our life is the quality of our relationship. The number one driver of happiness in general is relationship and number one driver of happiness at work is relationships.

So a leader that doesn’t, you know, understand that

 ROI is not return on investment, but return on interaction is missing something, right? So as leaders, what are we doing to foster these relationships to create the psychological safety? So people feel comfortable to bring themselves, you know, their full selves to, you know, Go out and talk, get to know people as human beings, right?

Not just as activity machines. And so that’s really important. And I do a lot on kind of, fostering belonging standing, you know, our life maps, our stories, what brought us to be who we are today. Cause when we understand, you know, yeah, I’m triggered by this because of all these elements, they can understand, you know, I we’re coming from different areas, but there’s a lot of respect.

And I, yeah, that’s, that’s the important thing I talk a lot about diversity and equity and inclusion and you know, all these leaders say, Oh, we have diversity. We have three females and I always say, yeah, but what are we doing about including them? Right? Because diversity is just the beginning. Diversity is just numbers.

It’s worth nothing if we don’t create the inclusion, you know, the asking for the different points of view, the, you know, appreciating. Right. The devil’s advocate asking for for these different points of view. So that all falls into this relationship, you know, understanding what builds a strong relationship and some of it is some conflict.


Carolyn: absolutely. Well, we need to have that, that difference of, of insight and perspective, but it comes back to that empathy and being able to say, okay, I’m gonna listen to you and hear you and respect your experience. Not try and tell you you’re wrong. Yeah. I’m curious, I mean, I, I’m with you on the importance of belonging and I think if we come back to the story that you were sharing about the boss with the, the Kleenex box mm-hmm.

That absolutely is going against everything about including a, a, a safety or a place of belonging because it’s basically saying you don’t belong here. If you’re going to cry 

Dalia: and even, you know, I won’t go into all that. That’s just one story, but it was literally. You know, mocking you for who you are and then to a stage that I thought, Oh, maybe I shouldn’t.

And, you know, now, and I work, as I mentioned, I work a lot in Asia and all cultures have that a little bit that, you know, emotions are a sign of weakness. And I’m really working to change that around because emotions and empathy. You know, a core core skill for leadership today for innovation, growth, you know, you can’t, we’re managing people remotely and agile teams, creativity.

We know that this is really important. We know that psychological safety, I mean, Google did this important research called Project Aristotle, where they found the number one driver of high performing teams is psychological safety and psychological safety is. You know, the safety to be ourselves and it starts with empathy.

The good news is that it all can be learned. Yeah, right. It’s all, you know, teachable skills. It’s really about them. Sometimes I talk with the guys and, you know, it’s really, and I’m also, and I’ll tell you, research shows that men and women have the same level of empathy. Yep. Well, men step out of it really fast and another area in their brain lights up, which is.

Problem solving. So, you know, if you ever kind of just wanted to bitch and that, okay, this is what you should be doing. So I always say to the men, just shut up and listen, and they’re like, how long do I need to kind of sit in this suffering? And I’m like, as long as it takes, but empathy is exactly that it’s looking, seeing the world from the other person’s perspective.

And if a boss says, Oh, I don’t care about that. I’ll give my HR to deal with that. You cannot outsource soul, right? Right. It’s a big mistake that leaders think, Oh, I’m really bad with people. By my age, I would be amazing. No, you need to be good at people with people, because that is, they expect, you know, your direct reports expect the people leadership from you.

Right. I’ll just, you know, when I work with companies and they say, okay, on a structural basis, what could we do? And I always think back to what was it with PNG that really kind of fostered people as a core strength. You know, basically we had a very, very simple. Talent review process, you would get a rating for how you did for building the business, right?

That’s your OKR, KPIs, et cetera. But you would also get a rating for how good you were in building the organization. These are, you know, the trainings that you give, your role as coach, et cetera. And when you went into talent review, you know, you got a rating on each and you would not get promoted if you were not top rated in both.


Carolyn: what a great way to look at it, right? Yeah. 

Dalia: So if you are, cause often these bullies, okay. They deliver the business cause fear can deliver the business short term. Short term. Yep. And that’s really important. So I often hear, Oh, but his business results are amazing. I’m like, yeah, but you’re killing the organization longterm.

Yeah. Okay. And so it’s very simple. And then the leader knows if you don’t become good at with people, you know, you don’t move forward. And if you want to become good at people go and do the training that you need to do. Okay, spend time understanding what is empathy, how do I give and receive feedback. It is an art, you know, given it is that is an art I spent months working with my leaders, you know, teaching them feedback that is done well.

Okay. Whoa, it’s kind of, it propels you and it’s not sugarcoating and it’s not avoiding tough conversation. No, it’s coming into this tough love. It’s being direct and honest with your employees, but from a position of love, care. I, you know, I care about your progress. I, here’s what 

Carolyn: I’ve come to believe now is that receiving feedback.

We don’t talk about that enough because at the end of the day, our ability to receive it is going to be directly connected to how, how, I’ll say how does how disconnected but like, how open we are to be to receive it and many of us aren’t because we’re in systems or structures that don’t value. The, what you were just talking under building the organization in the same way that they value the purpose and 

Dalia: the profit, I will say though, yes, it’s important and I train also on how to receive feedback.

But when you give feedback, it’s almost like given, you know, in my book, I talk, I wrote a chapter with my first boss, Jim development, and he uses an analogy of, you know, 

given feedback is like given medicine, right? If, if you don’t have the prognosis of you just share what you see without sharing where it comes from.

Yeah. Well it the pinpointing okay usually challenges or weaknesses or overuse of those strengths. Okay, so we can, when we share. Okay. You have a leadership program problem. Sorry. Right. The person will just spit up the spit out the peel because he doesn’t really understand where it comes from, but we’re help them understand, you know, this is the behavior I’m seeing.

This is where I think it’s coming. You know what I would love to see or I think, you know, would be so much more productive for you I believe in you. I’m here for you. Everything, you know, there’s a whole kind of methodology of giving that, then, you know, it’s, it’s a conversation of growth, right? When it’s a conversation on growth, you know, every employee wants to become better and grow.

And I can tell you, you know, my pride and joy were my direct reports. I had some direct reports that my bosses said, you need to fire them. They were And I spent the time and today they’re still very successful, you know, in the different, different roles. So I think that’s another very important one, you know, the, yeah, absolutely.

I’ll just finish with, yeah, the fifth, the fifth, the 

Carolyn: fifth P right. We’re under the 

Dalia: fifth P. So the fifth P is actually my magic sauce. And I call it positivity. And I can tell you, so what happened to me, I did my degree in organizational psychology, and then I met Dr. Talbin Shachar and he was Harvard’s, you know, he created Harvard’s most popular course in positive psychology.

And he invited me and I started studying with him also positive psychology. And then I started actually teaching in Singapore management university, positive psychology. And when I studied positive psychology, almost like everything I intuitively believed about leadership. I was grounded in research, the research of positive psychology, of motivation.

And you know, I actually learned my, my bully boss used to call me Miss Kumbaya. He claimed I’m too positive, right? Mm-hmm. Or too energetic. And I actually learned that it’s good for business to be positive, right? Yeah. You know, there is an element of reality, of course, but it’s overall, so that really fascinated me.

And, you know, the science of positive psychology is not about being happy, happy all the time. Yeah. It’s really about something I call being emotionally brave, being understanding there’s room for all emotions. Okay, it’s okay not to be okay. How do we deal with emotions? The importance of not shoving down or hiding negative emotions because they will pop up.

Okay, either in passive aggressiveness or in a disease. Okay, so how do we deal with it, you know, emotions in the workplace in a way that are conducive, right? It is true that if I’m, you know, crying or, you know, or angry, etc. The other person will not understand what I’m trying to say. So I do often say never apologize for crying, but say, Hey, you triggered me.

I’m going to leave. I want to continue discussing that. Yeah. And take as long as you need to have, you know, a conversation where you talk about your emotions. Okay. But in a way that the other person can understand what you’re trying to say, right, because right percent of, you know, the message is what we say 93 is how we say it.

So that’s the only reason that I say, you know, sometimes talk emotions and emotionally, not in a sense of avoiding them coming and saying, Hey, what you said yesterday really made me angry. Yeah. Okay. Why? Because, you know, my team has been working. It’s linked to something very important. It seems like you don’t understand, right?

Having a conversation around it, but then kind of working to find the win win. So, so I think that’s kind of, and it takes, there’s a whole process, I call it center in the emotional claiming name naming. There’s a whole kind of science behind that, but it’s really understanding that emotions are important.

They’re, you know, they were a mirror to our soul. They were a lesson. They’re trying to say something. Yeah. And we, if we ignore them, we’re kind of missing a very, very important part of a growth and learning journey. Absolutely. 

Carolyn: Absolutely. Yeah. And if we circle back to the story that you said at the beginning, when you were at PNG, you were able to express, express both sides, both sides and, and allow both of them to nourish.

And this is really all about balance, is it not? 

Dalia: It is. It’s completely, you know, it’s rotating between the two. Muhammad Ali says, float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, right? It’s having these two areas, but being respected. For who you are. Okay. And recognizing that emotions are not a weakness. They’re a sign of passion and passion is really important business driver.

So how do we kind of nurture that in our people? So, 

Carolyn: Dahlia, what, what advice or insight would you give to somebody? I’m going to ask you to like, you know, most often I’m going to get kind of binary. I know it’s not as simple as that, but, you know, we’re kind of either more logical than creative or more left brained.

Then right brained, or maybe more logical than emotional. What advice would you give those types of leaders on how they could try to find more balance to bring in more of the passion? And then I’m going to ask you the reverse after that. 

Dalia: So, you know, I had the, so, so my, my last boss was clearly very left, but he, he said it, you know, I don’t care about people.

I don’t understand that I’m not going to give you positive feedback because it’s a waste of time. I’m only focus on what you need to fix. Right. Now the issue for me is I became a junkie of compliments in a way so I became too dependent on external validation. What I did is I hired a person that was very similar.

Okay, a lady that was extremely left brain, but she had this appreciation the difference was. That he didn’t have, he’s like, this is who I am. I’m an asshole. Take it or leave it. Literally. And there, and you can’t talk with that because you know, well, there’s power 

Carolyn: and privilege speaking pretty loud there.

Right. Yeah. 

Dalia: And also an approach that this worked for me in the past. You know, the, the lady I hired was like, you know, it works for me, but I really saw you at work and I want to learn from you. So we had a lot of conflict. It was fascinating for me to work with her because she was able to translate for me.

Right. So if my boss wanted the science, she was able to give all the science and free me to do the creativity and the other thing. So one is higher for complimentary skills. Okay. Fascinating for me to, to see her growth because she was so eager to learn. And, you know, I once kind of, she got in trouble with, with the people challenge and she asked for my help and we had a three way discussion and she’s like, Whoa, you solve that.

And I was like, literally, okay. Tried to find the win win and she was like, Whoa. And then she, she had another session and she did it so well. And I’m like, Whoa. That was amazing. She’s like, yeah, I decoded you and I found that. Wow. So I, you know, if you’re respectful to understand the importance of both, yes, everything is possible.

Yeah. Left brain can learn to be right brain. Right. Learn to appreciate it. Right. It’s all in the desire. Yeah, I guess the, the, the answer is also, and I will tell you, by the way, I mean, it all starts with self awareness and motivation. Yeah, I’m just anecdote on that those left brain and why I have hope.

Right. You know, when my TED came out, I got a lot of calls from women, from men, you know, a lot of different kind of interesting stories, but the craziest one, and I mentioned it quite a lot because I find it so fascinating. I got a call from a guy in Australia. He kind of just told me, Dalia, thank you so much.

I saw your TEDs. I realize I’m an asshole. What do I do? Oh, wow. Wow. Did you work with him? And we started working together. And you know what he does today? He used to be a very senior head of sales. And today he calls himself the asshole eradicator coach. Wow. So he learned, I mean, not just because of me, he had other things happening in his life that helped him kind of say, Hmm, let me try a different approach because his approach delivered results.

Right. So you stick to these kind of, so he said, let me try combining the strengths of, you know, this left brain, but let me try another approach. And he was blown away by how his business results when he tried. So now he kind of focused on that. So yes. I do have hope. It all depends on your self awareness.

Yeah. And then motivation. Yeah. Okay. So that’s kind of the left brain to the right. 

Carolyn: So yeah. Yeah. Let’s go to, so if somebody is more based in right brain, so that’s, that’s sort of was my sort of leadership. Leaning when I was in the corporate world, how can those folks invite more of the left side or more of that sort of masculine energy side in 

Dalia: you have to be, you have to, I mean, the first thing is data, right?

Because, you know, emotions compliments data. Okay. But they have to be grounded. So when I’m talking with a very left brain, you know, I’m all. Data. Yeah. So it was, you know, one of the stories I tell in, in the book is towards the end, you know, my third year, I was determined to bring back my heart and my art.

Okay. So together with my team, my boss wanted the science, you know, and we decided to create, you know, I, I decided to create a campaign. Okay. Nevermind a very masculine product. But I knew I can bring in the data, but also the emotions and we found an insight. I won’t go into too much of the details, but we found an insight that was bringing the two together.

And consumers absolutely loved it. The sales team absolutely loved it. My product person, that was a very left brained person, absolutely hated it because he created a product. Where’s his reasons to believe? Where’s his, right? All the left brain assets. And I told him that’s not how consumers make decisions.

They make decisions with their heart. And then they put a slash analyze. So I will bring all your RTBs, but it would be after they made the initial decision. They click on one campaign, they get more of the data. So we created this kind of whole, you know, left brain, right brain campaign and my boss, he went to my boss and my boss was like, okay, I have these two powerhouses fighting.

Let’s have this big meeting. And we had this meeting and I went in, right? And I said, I’m not going to say a word. I’m just going to show the data and I show the data of the consumers reactions and I’m, I show the standard innovation when we shared it with a sales team. So, and at the end, yes, we did manage to add a campaign and it won an FBA award and that’s when I knew I found my mojo back but that was an example and the fire.

Right. Literally, I felt under fire that I said to myself, okay, you know, you need to be smart about it. Right? Sometimes if you come just with your emotion and your passion, it’s like, Oh, she’s in love with this campaign. Right? Yeah. Oh, it’s not that I’m in love with that campaign because I created it. I’m in love with a campaign because it’s the right thing for the business and the thing.

Data, data, data. Yeah. And the second is really, you know, advocates. You know, the whole element of being politically savvy in the sense that you need to be strategic. I hated the word politics for years. I said, Oh, I’m just going to do my work and the results will kind of speak for themselves. But I learned, you know, this term politically savvy doesn’t need to mean that you play dirty.

It’s just that you’re being smart about how you achieve in results. And in this case. You know, sometimes you come into a meeting, you think the decision is made in the meeting. Well, you know, in most cases, the decision is made way before the meeting and the alliances and, you know, so who are the decision making in, in this project that you’re leading.

Okay. You know, and then sharing with them, understanding what is their need? What is your need? What is the win win understanding their concern? And when everyone feels, you know, heard, right. And, you know, taken into consideration. You know, in that meeting, everyone, you know, was, was supporting kind of, me and it wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t me.

It was the data. And, so that’s the other thing that really being strategic on understanding what is a win win. Okay. It’s not coming with your emotion and thinking that, you know, that is it, right. You need to communicate in a way that other people that are very left brain understands. And that is.

Needs. Okay. What are your needs? What are my needs? And how can we find the third way that finds a win win? So those are the times to mind. 

Carolyn: Well, Dalia, I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by in this conversation. Where could our listeners find you and, and all of these things that you’ve talked about, your book, your Ted Talk, where can they find you?


Dalia: the best place is LinkedIn. So Lia the book is everywhere. You know, Amazon, all, all, book sales. Actually, we have an incredible summer sale. The publisher took 40% off for summer because, you know, way. So that’s. Amazing to take advantage. I have a post about it with the, with the code on, LinkedIn, the TED Talk, Dalia Feld.

And if you’re a leader that want to make a change in your team, just, you know, write to me on LinkedIn. I do a lot of programs, you know, from Microsoft, Facebook, Google. I come with a very unique approach that I, I’m not a regular consultant or academic. Yeah. I have all the bigger and the data. But I’m a storyteller, you know, as you may have seen once a marketer, always a marketeer, and I come from the trenches and then I’m also very practical.

So for me, every single kind of from a keynote to a workshop, people come up out was very tangible because I’m about, you know, human change. And I am optimistic. I am optimistic that we can make this change as we saw with kind of the leader. And yeah, it’s a, it’s. Being courageous, to make a change because, interestingly enough, and my friend, and I’ll just maybe finish with that.

My friend, you know, ex CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman, once said, you know, that courage is probably the most misunderstood word in business. People think that it’s making decisions that others don’t, etc. But courage actually comes from the French word, cour, which means heart. They’re really courageous leaders or those who lead from the heart.


Carolyn: right, right. Oh, just a full circle to what we were talking about earlier. So, Dahlia, thank you so much for that. Before we end off, I’d love to ask you three questions that I ask all the guests on here that are all foundational elements of an evolved leader. Are you game for that? Yeah, bring it on.

All right. So the 1st question has to do with self awareness, which, you know, you, you and I both know how important that is. Is there an example or story that you comfortable sharing that really gives insight into a moment where your self awareness really deepened a moment? Maybe it wasn’t too pretty, but gave you a lot of insight about 

Dalia: yourself.

I think all the stories I share in the book, I mean, the story, the first, I mean, they all, but I, I, I just remember the feedbacks when you’re given tough feedback, that is a huge growth in self awareness. You know, for me, it was about collecting those aha moments and remembering that life is about growth.

Right. And it’s about focusing on our. Strengths. Okay. Focusing and remembering where we spend the energy is about our strengths and taking them to the next level, but finding ways to neutralize the opportunities areas. So that’s 

Carolyn: cool. Thank you. So second question. Is there a practice or ritual that you have that helps keep you in a calm, more regulated 

Dalia: state.

So when I left PNG, I, I’m a hyperactive, okay. My brain processes the amount, et cetera. I actually decided to be a yoga teacher. Oh, wow. I usually have a little arm here. It’s been fixed, but so I teach yoga here once a week. And, and that, I think, you know, throughout the most challenging times in my life, spending as little, you know, as five minutes meditating and for hyperactive people.

You would know how hard it is, but just really taking a moment to get that perspective. And I literally listened to my breath to step behind this waterfall to understand, you know, I sometimes say step out of the drama so you can understand the movie. Right. 

Carolyn: Fantastic. Wow. and then third one, my, one of my favorite questions, what is a song or genre of music that makes you feel connected to something bigger than yourself?

Dalia: Wow. I love music in general. So just a good piano piece or, but I often listen to yoga music. Okay. No, I find that it just kind of. I do believe that all of these practices, whether it’s yoga, whether it’s psychology, my husband comes from it, from biohacking, it all brings us to the same place. It’s really about how can we be, Helen Keller said, the only definition of happiness is wholeness.

And so I really try, you know, to practice this wholeness. I, my feet are in the, on the ground, my head is in the sky. So I really try to consent and that’s what yoga, yoga, Sound is the universal sound of, you know, mind, body and soul ground and, you know, spirituality. And I, I find this step between, you know, spiritual and, that’s why I love speaking about happiness in the workplace.

Theoretically, it’s spiritual, but it’s very grounded. so I love playing between those kind of, and, and yoga music is the one that kind of reminds me. Yeah, 

Carolyn: it is. It’s very grounding. It just kind of kind of helps tamp down the intensity I find as well. So, well, thank you so much, Dahlia, really, really appreciate your time and all your insight and all of your passion.

It comes oozing through. I love it. and again, it’s been a real pleasure having you on the show. Thank you so 

Dalia: much. Thank you so much. And thank you for helping spread the mission. You know, I think the mission all profit from the book go towards women empowerment programs. I have a school in India and in Africa.

And I do believe we, we owe it to our employees, we see our employees are suffering. We know it doesn’t need to be that way for the sake of our children. Let’s bring on a new, you know, it’s time. Absolutely. Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. 

Carolyn: All right. Take care. And thanks again to all the listeners out there.

If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please like and subscribe. Your listenership really means a whole lot to us and it will help us get more incredible guests, guests like Dahlia on the show. Thanks again, everybody.

Oh, Dahlia’s energy is contagious. Oh, what a great conversation. I have to say when I was doing research for this interview and learned more about the advertising campaign that she shared, it just made me smile because when I was a young girl, this was in the 80s. There were lots of sports shows that I watch and, and live sporting events.

And I always said to myself, one day I want to put a tampon commercial in the middle of the Super Bowl. And I got to meet and interview a woman today who was responsible for doing just that. So, it just, yeah, it was really fun to see that come full circle and I hope what you got from this conversation is not about being a girl or being a boy or really the, the notion of, of gender per se, but more about the it.

energy by which we show up in the world. And there are different states. There’s a flow, there’s an intuition, and then there is power and control. And it’s not about either or. It’s about finding the blend and balance of both. Because it isn’t all of us and I hope this conversation really, really helped you on your journey to being a better leader because hey, it is hard right now.

We see you, we feel you were on this journey with you and we hope that this conversation helped just a little bit.

EVOLVE Podcast Episodes

Lindsay Harle-Kadatz
Karin Hurt

Welcome to the Evolve community

Skip to content