In many ways this post is a follow up to my last post about nurturing your energy. Starting the new year off with a vision for your leadership, your presence, your team, division or organization is essential for creating a more engaged, inspiring and high performing work place. In my work, I find that I have to remind leaders of the need to focus on a vision for anything of real importance they want to accomplish. Connecting to our vision is a lot more difficult when we are drained, uninspired and not taking care of ourselves. Most of us can still put out fires, do tactical, day-to-day management and are competent enough to trudge on. Truly leading and inspiring is a lot more difficult when we are running on empty or not at our best.
Leading with vision requires you pause, stand on the balcony, breath and consider the whole landscape in which you operate your business. Clients have often told me that the most important thing I do with them is require that they take an intentional break to consider the bigger picture and what it is that they are really trying to achieve. I used to think, gosh, that is kind of low hanging fruit. But after 20 years of doing this work, I know it is not. In fact it is the central issue for them. The too many, frequently shifting priorities and demands of the hyper transparent and connected business environment can be anxiety inducing and disruptive to connecting to our executive function – where our most adult, wise and thoughtful decision-making happens. Instead clients are being hijacked by their more emotional, less manageable amygdala (the teenager of our brain) and it is not the highest functioning set of neurons from which to run most businesses.
The amygdala was set up to keep us safe, let us quickly decide (without thinking) whether we should fight, flee or experience pleasure. It really won’t help us with vision, strategy, planning or any other higher order requirement of leadership. Instead, I am convinced that we are all overusing and stressing a neural pathway because we feel under more constant threat. No surprise, we are more likely to do this when we are not at our most rested, energized and happy selves. And I am sure it has a big cost to the teams we lead and the enterprises we run.
Here are my top recommendations for making the space to create your 2017 vision for your leadership, team and organization:
Though leading with vision can create magic, it is not required to get better at it. Time to practice, patience and a dose of compassion is the ticket.
Welcome to Moira's blog. I write a (mostly) monthly post about the work of building better work places: people strategies, systems, teams and leaders.