I recently attended a Leadership conference, bringing together the minds of academics and practitioners to listen and discuss the research and development of leadership. We covered topics about how the brain works, the three hearts of leadership, Axiology and putting learning into practice, Poetry in leadership, Pacifica leadership and more. The value of immersing myself into three days of discussion, listening and educating was that it allowed me once again to stop and reflect on different aspects of leadership and what leadership currently means for me, my clients, my colleagues and my family. It reinforced a continuing theme of the importance of understanding ourselves as humans, not only the logical side of how we lead (our brains) but also the emotional side (our hearts) and the connection between the two.
There are so many theories, practices, and models within the realms of leadership, we can often get caught up on the model or theory itself. We can lose sight of what leadership means to each of us individually and how our leadership affects those around us, i.e. Why we do it.
It is hugely rewarding working with leaders who, through their own journey, learn to really understand themselves, their priorities and why they do what they do. It sounds so simple, yet many leaders I work with struggle with this concept everyday. Recently I started working with a corporate mum, who wanted to understand her leadership path and what that meant for her as she got ready to step up to the next level. One of the key a-ha moments she had was ‘getting back to the why’ and checking in to what was actually important to her, in her leadership and her life as a whole.
It is not uncommon to see the kind of disconnect I saw on this occasion. Being fit and healthy was on the top of her priority list, yet when looking at where her time was spent and how she managed her priorities, her health wasn’t even on the radar. As a consequence it took up brain space as something she felt guilty about not getting to. She found she didn’t have time for the other things she deemed important, like time for her peers, one on one sessions with her team and family time was interrupted as she was constantly racing to keep on top of things.
A strategy that worked for her in this situation, (to gain back control), was to stop and ask herself:
The key is putting “YOU” back into your priorities. Choose to do this and it will be easier to plan, schedule and prioritise. There will of course always be outside factors to take into consideration, like organisational environment and context, family or personal pressures or financial constraints, but make sure you also consider yourself.