We are all in a great social experiment. One that has been foisted upon us. And the experience is not evenly distributed. Many have suffered loss of income, jobs, and loved ones. Others are experiencing an increased sense of collaboration, creativity and the space to take stock and pause.
We are all working with the unwelcome, the uninvited. We no longer need to imagine a time when our leadership is challenged; we are now in the thick of it, in a space of dynamic learning.
There is much we can do with our living history of today to give spaciousness for the leader within us to emerge into this changed world.
Reflecting on yourself as a leader,
What has it been like for you since March?
Remember that no one has got this sorted. We have been catapulted into this space, the “space of not knowing,” all together and all at the same time. How are you being in this precious time?
This is a time for you to be more present with yourself. What do you need? What is important to you? Only by caring for yourself, can you begin to be more available, as a leader, to other people.
Your people require more presence. This is not a time to rally. It is a time to soothe. This is a time to say, “ I don’t know. How might we move together towards knowing…?”
If you want to be a more effective leader, want to stop the hurry and the busy-ness, it is quite simple; choose to take a breath, step back, take stock, step back and consider, “what is the most important thing here?” and “what do I need?”
Finding your leadership pause
Creating a pause between what is happening and choosing your response creates the vital moment to reflect and check in with yourself before you react. Ask yourself: “What can I do to create a pause? What would it be like for me to have more pause than before? How might I work with this pause?”
Some people are saying to us that this is the first time they have ever stopped. The upside of this crisis is that they can spend more time with the family, make the most of the recovered commuting time and connecting with people in a new way.
Who are you now?
We are now in a period in our history where one can longer hide. That is one reason why people stay busy. They keep their attention away from what’s inside them with displacement activity. Some people hope they can get through life without changing anything at all.
Spoiler alert: we can’t get through this by not changing anything at all or by clinging to what we knew.
We are not the same people we were at the start of the crisis. We have grappled with the unfamiliar, created new habits, found new routines, and perhaps rediscovered old skills.
What have you been learning about yourself as we live in real time? We are all learning to live in real time and that can be disorientating. As a leader can you live with not having it all figured out? What are you not understanding, confused by, challenged by? – name it to normalise it – and in so doing create the space for that leadership pause and the ensuing learning.
We are the innovators of our own lives
Wars tend to accelerate innovation as plans are compressed in time. Innovation is required to come forward and happen fast and impact sooner than expected. All previous bets are now off.
As a leader, it’s time to ask yourself:
· What are the changes you want to make to go in the direction of your choosing?
· How might you use this pivot point?
· What does this mean for you?
· What is important to you?
· Who and what can help you?
Start to vocalise it and dare to dream.
Listen to your inner wisdom
Check in with your inner wisdom each morning for a few moments and ask: “What do I need today?”
Really listen to the answer. Your answer may be a feeling, a sensation or an image. What information might that hold for you?
Check out with yourself each evening, by asking: “How am I leaving the day?”
Again, take a moment to notice the wisdom within you.
We are all in the thick of it. But we can choose how and who we wish to be when we start to release ourselves from the mud.
Liz and Doug are the co-founders of Science meets Creativity. We are currently offering group supervision sessions and reflection workshops in an online format. Both group supervision and our seasonal reflection workshops offer you a chance to pause, reflect, and learn about yourself. Find out more here, or contact Liz or Doug via email to find out how we can help you and your own practice.