Today we share some thoughts and inspirations from the webinar “The Insightful Leader” (Prof. Harry Kraemer).
How are we managing in these new times? Are we confusing activity with productivity? Are there not some somewhat frantic reactions to an uncertain context that prevent us from being in the best “mood” to think about broader goals?
Shouldn’t we take some time to get away from the noise (at all levels) and the gadgets? Those who do not practice self-reflection will always be in for surprises…
How should we prepare ourselves for what needs to be done in really demanding and challenging times?
The constant worries, and sometimes the fear, anxiety, stress and excessive pressure… wear down our energy!
If you always “Do the Right Thing” and simultaneously always “Do the Best You Can Do”, you can greatly alleviate or even remove the triggers of exhaustion.
If I don’t practice self-reflection, I won’t be able to know myself. If I don’t know myself, I won’t be able to manage myself in the best way or make the best decisions. And without managing myself in the best way I won’t, in fact, be able to manage my teams.
Self-reflection and self-awareness are essential attributes of true leaders in these demanding times.
To be able to manage teams I must be able to manage and organize myself. As a leader I must manage and lead and support and drive my teams using challenges. I must be a role model. I must be self-reflective instead of being a “lunatic”… and thus we come back to the beginning: we should not confuse activity with productivity.
And what does the regular practice, which we deem essential, of self-reflection entail? Many Executives say they “don’t have time for”… or maybe they feel self-reflection as something uncomfortable, something to be avoided. But, please, pay attention to this number: 168. It is an important number. It is the result of multiplying 24 by 7. It is the number of hours available in one week.
Executives and managers take decisions and manage resources. They prioritize. They set the agenda. Finding time to self-manage and be an influencer for your team can be very important. Just 15 minutes a day can help you prepare and build a stronger team and a more robust business.
First step to take – spend more time with yourself. “Self-reflection is not about spending hours staring into the void.” Nor is it an intellectual exercise. It is a regular practice. What are my values? My purposes? Am I deceiving myself? Get feedback from people, interact. People don’t care about what you know until they know how much you care. “Find people whose values you appreciate, whom you admire, who can give you an honest appraisal of whether you’re on track or not.” “It’s about self-improvement, being self-aware, knowing yourself, and getting better.”
It allows you to understand what is important and to focus on what needs to be done differently, what needs to change, where to invest your energy.
What does a Coach say? Take care of yourself. Take a break, relax. To pause, to put things into perspective, to diagnose what has become really important in this journey of leadership. For a marathon runner, holistic balance is essential: Physical / Mental / Emotional / Spiritual.
A Leader has the privilege of leading a team or an organisation at every moment.
Isn’t it often the case that CEOs and Executives are afraid of showing that they don’t know everything? In times of crisis, there are 3 fundamental steps in communicating with teams: tell people what you know (without lying); tell them what you don’t know (show vulnerability rather than a huge ego); explain how to move forward and also how to discover what is not (yet) known, every week, always updating the feedback and knowledge (“let’s keep studying, starting more projects, doing more pilots”).
And to finish, three key words: Leadership; Influence and Relationship.
Leading is not about titles, as we all already know, or should know.
It’s about Influence! How to influence people to get their best and make them eager to improve?
It’s about Relationship! Really listening to People and showing that you care and understand different points of view. Having a balanced perspective. As Saint Francis said: “Grant that I may seek to understand rather than to be understood (…) For it is in giving that one receives.”
How good is our “ability to relate?” For instance, how many of us know the name of their receptionist? Or how many children does each member of their team have? Or what sports do they play or what hobbies do they enjoy?
“Every single person matters.”
Establishing relationships leads to increasing your influence, which leads to improving your leadership. If every person knows you care about them, they will care about you and will support you. When things don’t go so well, we need to communicate more, 2 to 3 times more.
“The requirements to be a leader have always remained pretty constant. It’s leading yourself, leading others, communicating like crazy, listening carefully, demonstrating you care,” says Kraemer.
Are you still sure you can’t find the time for self-reflection exercises in your 168-hour week? Often, lack of time is just an excuse to avoid uncomfortable issues…
At TOWS & TOOLS we deeply believe in the importance of sound reflection, holistic approaches, and creating the right and fertile context for creative thinking and transformation. Change must be transformative. Of processes, organizations and tools. “Engage the passion of leaders in management, aligning people, strategy and operations”.
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