Author Focus – Sarah Higgins: Power of Love Leadership

Power of Love Leadership® is based upon the premise that there are two fundamental human emotions from which all other feelings stem: fear and love. It is fascinating to see everything through that lens, and the book guides you through the model and the 7 Power of Love Strategies.

Three of my personal favourite takeaways were that:

1. Neuroscience tells us that if we ignore our feelings we miss out on vital data. Cultivating emotional self-awareness is vital for leadership success (and feelings aren’t ‘soft’).

2. Research shows that people who are more self-compassionate lead healthier, more productive lives than those who are self-critical.

3. In great leadership, humility and confidence go hand in hand.

I first met Sarah around 2011 when she was an HR Director, and I was a head-hunter of HR leaders. I remember immediately being drawn to her warmth and her knowledge, combined with a genuine manner. For someone who had achieved so much, she was refreshingly humble and kind. We had occasional contact over the years, and our paths crossed again in 2020 when I was designing a career accelerator program for WHEN – the Women’s Higher Education Network and she was also supporting them. We both spoke at their conference (pictured) and are now both ambassadors for Girls Friendly Society (GFS). I am grateful to have her in my life.

I am so happy she is talking to me now about her wonderful book, Power of Love Leadership. It has been described as ‘a book for leadership in modern times’ and should be required reading for all who aspire to the privilege of leading. As leaders, we need to be using this model not just to be the best leaders we ourselves can be, and to make our organisations the best they can be, but to make future leaders and future organisations the best they can be too.

Welcome Sarah! Thanks Ellie.

Who should read Power of Love Leadership?

It is written for leaders, but it applies to everyone. Everyone is a leader of themselves and others because leadership is also about influencing. We can learn and make choices about how to lead ourselves and others more effectively to achieve the outcomes we want – therefore anyone can apply the strategies for themselves or others.

What’s the elevator pitch for your book?

In a constantly evolving, uncertain, hybrid working, distanced, pressured environment – how do leaders stay at their best? How do they get the best results whilst navigating personal, work, team and career challenges? Get this book to find out how to maximise your results and how to lead from a place of love, and not fear.

What was your biggest lightbulb moment when you were writing?

My own fears of self-doubt and worry about whether it was good enough led to procrastination and frustration. It was long journey for me, but I kept going. It was a real test of resilience. It took about 5 years all in all – about 4 years was researching and writing in an unstructured way – with a lot of that technical writing term ‘faffing’ and the year before publishing was when I wrote consistently.

If readers were to take away one message from your book, what would you like it to be?

There are two opposing forces – love and fear. Fear is our greatest motivator, but also our biggest barrier to being our best. As a leader of people and teams focusing on motivation, creativity, resilience and productivity, we should all learn more about what fears are getting in our way and implementing strategies to overcome them. That’s how we will reach and maintain success.

What is a surprising fact about you?

I have a black belt in Karate! I achieved this in the year I turned 50 – I had set this as my goal when I started a few years before – so it was super to achieve it. This is one of my proudest personal achievements outside of work, because it took so much determination. Karate at the higher levels is difficult. It’s a big-time commitment to learn new techniques with each belt you gain, as well as being able to remember all of the ones you learned in previous belts. Physically it is a commitment, but mentally too.

When did you know you wanted to write a book?

I started my own business in 2011 as an Executive coach and created my own leadership, emotional intelligence and resilience model – Power of Love Leadership®. My goal was to enable leaders and teams to understand the barriers getting in their way (based upon fear) and have strategies that they could use that would overcome the challenges (based upon love). Soon after, I had three consecutive missed miscarriages, and my personal world was rocked. I decided that if I was ever going to use my model with clients again, I needed to use it on myself. It changed my life, so I decided to write a book about this experience to help others too.

What was your biggest learning?

Keep going and learning and adapting. Even if it is challenging, even if you feel that it is too difficult, even if you think you can’t do it. You can, so keep going and take small steps – little actions – that get you closer to your goal.

What’s the greatest advice you have ever been given?

“You’re too nice, you’ll never achieve a Director role” was actually the biggest insult and the biggest push too – it has always motivated me to achieve my goals AND be kind. Power of Love Leadership has the word Power in it for a reason – it is based upon love and it is immensely powerful – I have seen this and experienced this time and time again.

What would be your top tip to leaders?

Build your self-awareness. It is critical for effective self-development and continuous improvement as a leader. You can build self-awareness by embracing humility and learning, asking for feedback and acting upon it, building awareness of your strengths and development areas and always working on your leadership development action plan.

What else do you want to achieve?

Power of Love Leadership has only just started – my goal is to enable more people to get the results they want through increased emotional intelligence and leadership resilience. Teams can be more productive, motivated and creative. Right now, in our fear-based world, we need this more than ever to stay effective. I am planning to implement more online content, membership programmes and a coaching offering, including an accreditation programme for Leaders, Coaches and People Leaders and their teams.

What’s your favourite piece of feedback someone has shared with you having read the book?

“At last, I have found a leadership approach that blends perfectly with my own personal principles and enables me to achieve great results whilst also being true to my own convictions.”

What is your favourite book (other than your own!)

I love all of the Patrick Lencioni books – they are easy to read and depict meaningful leadership principles as a story, or fable. My favourites are The Truth About Employee Engagement and The 6 Types of Working Genius. I became a Practitioner of this in 2023, and it has provided so much value to my coaching clients and leadership team development already.

What advice would you give to yourself at the start of your career?

You can work through and overcome fears and challenges (over time) and learn to be happy in whatever you want to do in your life. Believe that loving yourself and others, will always help you to find the best path for you.

Thank you so much Sarah, for your time and also your openness.

It’s my pleasure – thanks for having me.

If you would like to follow Sarah or learn more about her work here are the links you need:

Buy the BookPower of Love Leadership

LinkedInSarah J. L. Higgins


power of love leadership

To read another Author Focus Blog, visit my blog about Dorie Clark’s latest book.

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