How to become an effective leader by looking at yourself.
Published 1 day ago
on Aug 17, 2020
Image Credit: Unsplash
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Our global community is facing continuous turbulence. With the current status being less of a new normal and more of a “no normal,” being able to skillfully navigate as a leader has become a top priority. While trying to stay focused above the noise, manage your personal life, and adapt to new work-life adjustments, you may also be in a position to manage a team, composed of individuals who are also going through troubling uncertainty.
The stark reality is that in order to operate effectively as a leader, you must first start with the reflection in the mirror. It is paramount that each leader develop ways to manage their own heightened emotions and stressors in order to thrive – not just survive – in our distressed global climate.
Now more than ever, making intentional decisions to manage one’s emotional and mental state is vital to attaining clarity, cultivating ideas, and constructively handling day to day interactions. With the relentless negative news and an environment which is subject to drastic change on a daily or hourly basis, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Fear, doubt and defeat have a funny way of sneaking in at times when hope, conviction and problem solving are actually what is needed most.
“Never lose hope. Never forget the power of intentions and desires.” – Debasish Mridha
In a leadership role, everyone from peers to team members and ownership look to you as the true north – the person who can help get their ship back on course, mitigate damage along the way, and outline the path forward. Therefore, it is crucial that the captain of the ship remains calm and collected, instilling confidence that they have the ingenuity and grit to navigate the storm and bring everyone out safely on the other side. So the question becomes, how can you do that when your own emotions and stressors are at an all-time high?
Leaders also realize that active listening is key when managing others – after all, people need to feel heard and in order to guide someone, knowing where they stand is half the battle. This means you need to be present in the conversations taking place – not distracted and consumed by the turbulence swirling around you.
As we look to a future that is riddled with uncertainty, cultivating an active daily practice to manage perspective is an essential part of establishing well-being. After all, your perspective has great influence over your decisions, the teams you manage, and the overall health of the companies you represent. So the healthier your mind is and the more thoughtfully your emotions are managed, the better your decision making ability will be to help you navigate the unknown. It will also help you lead by example so your team can embrace similar practices to elevate their overall mental and emotional state.
They often say the simplest of things are the hardest – this is what many people think of first when they think of meditation. However, daily meditation of just 20 minutes has been shown to provide mental clarity that lasts through the work day and compounds upon itself.
This practice can be cultivated by simply doing the following:
- Choose a time frame every day that you will dedicate to meditation. It’s ideal if you can do your meditation right after waking up.
- Create a calm, quiet place in your home to meditate where you will not be interrupted.
- When you go to meditate, make sure your phone is on silent. If you feel you need to set your timer, be sure that it is a soft sound otherwise it may startle you.
- Sit in an easy comfortable position, close your eyes, and simply breathe. Deepen each breath with every inhale. Let stress, anxiety and fear go with every exhale.
- Repeat this for 20 minutes allowing your thoughts to come and go and your mind to settle. It will seem noisy in your mind at first, but over time your thoughts will seem more like a soft song and less like a rock concert rolling loudly around in your mind.
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee
This practice for many has become a cornerstone of their daily routines – setting the stage for “successful” days and productive weeks. We all have challenging emails, calls, conversations and beyond in both our personal and professional lives. So being able to harness a calm state of mind and a balanced set of emotions will allow you to lead better, dream bigger, think outside the box and help model healthy behaviors for your team, your circle and beyond.
While appearing simple, choosing 20 minutes a day for your 2020 practice – a mere 1% of your day – may challenge you, however, this active practice will reveal amplified results, creating a profound ripple effect into a positive future.