Harjeet Virdee, Founder of Break the Bounds
I created Break the Bounds Ltd after a management career in the corporate world spanning more than twenty years. Much of that time was covered by commercial roles in the airline industry.
So how did I transition into a business developing managers to be great people leaders?
As a manager I led teams of people. But my style of managing people changed as I changed. With that change came unprecedented levels of performance.
That’s when I awakened to something valuable – that great people performance depends on the direct manager.
The background to my change was a ten-year enquiry and study in what makes human beings happy, fulfilled and reach their potential. In my own time I would immerse myself into programmes of experiential learning, deep introspection and self-enquiry. The subject fascinated me and working for an airline I was lucky enough to travel around the world easily and explore the many schools of thought. These included diverse subjects such as; neuroscience, mindfulness, self-enquiry, emotional intelligence, motivation, meditation, conscious leadership and wisdom from sages such as The Dalai Lama and those whose teachings live on in centres in India.
This journey expanded my thinking, vision and realms of possibity – emotionally, mentally and intellectually - and inevitably transformed my role as a manager of people.
Gradually I changed from being a ‘typical’ corporate manager focused on getting results through a commanding style to one where the fundamental relationship between manager and staff changed.
No longer were my staff seen as ‘resources’ to deliver outcomes but human beings who responded to being supported, recognised and encouraged to grow. And the results far exceeded anything I could have anticipated.
The level of commitment, diligence and performance shown translated into a highly achieving and productive team. But that wasn’t all. My staff were happy, fulfilled and were growing in confidence.
After eight years of achieving consistently high performance and results a decisive moment came when one of my top performers told me how much she loved her work and loved working for me!
That was when I realised I had to teach this – how to lead people so that they flourished, loved their work and produced great results.
What was my greatest insight? Emotions matter.
The emotional side of human beingness needs self-awareness, needs to be whole and positively channelled - for both the manager and the people being managed. This is when superior performance happens.
Harjeet is UK born and started out as a City stockbroker in London after graduating, then worked as a revenue analyst in the computer industry before turning to the airline industry where she spent more than twenty years.
In British Airways’ Head Office in London, UK she covered a number of roles in Sales, Marketing, Business Analysis and was part of the first e-Commerce team responsible for establishing BA as a leader in online business.
She later joined Cathay Pacific Airways in Hong Kong as a leading member of the team to set up a new e-business department, contributing to its successful position as an airline with a major online presence in Asia.
Harjeet also leads workshops in Equine Assisted Learning – using horses in leadership and team building workshops and is a certified trainer by a leading equine body.
She has wide experience of working internationally and travelling extensively.
Her forthcoming book – Flourish: How emotionally whole managers are the key to high impact people performance, passion and profit, will be published in late 2018.
She has a BA Hons degree in Politics and a MSc in International Business.
She is currently UK based.