The Edges of Lean — Ep 113 The Qualities of a Lean Leader with Kathy Hadizadeh

Here at the Edges of Lean, we’ve had a lot of conversations about leadership, with leaders who are practicing Lean and with leaders who are not Lean practitioners but are acknowledged as great leaders.  There have been so many incredible insights and tips to learn from.  However, I believe lean leadership differs from other types of leadership. Kathy Hadizadeh says that lean leaders need to bring their humanity to work with their teams, and she joined me at the Edges of Lean to share her insights. 


 Kathy Hadizadeh   


Kathy Hadizadeh founded Heart Mind Tuning, a coaching agency focused on human capital performance in Los Angeles. With over 15 years of experience as an IT executive, she specializes in leadership development, emotional intelligence, and coaching accessibility. Kathy’s methods amplify leaders’ effectiveness and foster innovation in teams, drawing on her expertise in systems thinking and mind-body connection.


00:01:31 – Kathy’s Background and Path to Leadership Coaching

00:04:17 – The Human Aspect of Leadership

00:07:53 – Creating a Safe Space for Employees

00:10:18 – Leaders’ Reactions to Employees’ Issues

00:13:48 – Kathy’s Personal Journey with Grief and Leadership

00:17:29 – The Process of Self-Reflection and Growth

00:21:56 – Therapy vs. Coaching in Leadership Development

00:26:28 – Common Themes in Leadership Challenges

00:30:23 – The Impact of Coaching on Executive Presence

00:36:22 – The Role of Performance Reviews in Leadership

00:38:02 – Adapting Leadership to Employees’ Crises

00:41:45 – Managing Teams During Global Crises

00:45:54 – Navigating Political and Social Divisions as a Leader

00:52:30 – Advice for Young Leaders Starting Out

00:53:24 – Closing Remarks and Acknowledgments



  • Lean leaders need to bring their humanity to work with their teams.
  • Lean leaders understand that employees are humans with personal lives and emotions.
  • Boundaries between personal and work life should be respected, but there should also be a safe space for employees to share if it affects their work.
  • Lean leaders should adopt a coaching mindset, listening, observing, and asking questions rather than trying to solve every problem.
  • Leaders should do their inner work and self-reflection to understand their reactions and behaviors.
  • Leaders should be aware of their challenges and traumas to be empathetic and supportive of their employees.
  • Coaching and therapy serve different purposes, and leaders should be aware of when to refer employees to therapies for emotional work.
  • Executive presence is an important quality for lean leaders to develop; it includes confidence, charisma, and inspiring others.

Memorable Quotes From Kathy Hadizadeh   

“Lean leaders listen, observe, and ask questions instead of trying to solve every problem.”

CONNECT WITH Kathy Hadizadeh