Today’s busy executives live and work at a frenetic pace. We have to keep up with the pace of technology, try and understand how to motivate our employees, make sure the bottom line is managed, innovate our products and services, continually evolve and execute strategy – and maintain our health and personal relationships as well.
So how do we stay centered and know we are making strong decisions?
Leadership is often measured by how well the captain sails the ship in turbulent weather, not the easy seas. It’s incumbent on any leader to keep a level head, to be able to steer the ship no matter what occurs, and to inspire confidence in the direction so that the crew doesn’t abandon ship.
But hey – we are all human. We all have bad days to navigate. And we get to choose how we show up in lieu of whatever is thrown our way. There are three choices really.
- get reactive or defensive
- feel overwhelmed
- stay really present and make the best decision for the highest good in the moment
Have you ever been in a meeting where the business owner, VP or other senior executive said something like this:
- “I will not fail. No one is going to stand in my way.”
- “What’s wrong with you people. I told you to….”
- “I’m paying you good money – just get it done.”
Versus a leader who may say something like:
- “We do have a deadline – what can we do to meet this expectation or how do we adjust?”
- “Last week we had an agreement. What has happened since? What are our options?”
- “What more do you need to make this happen? How can I help?”
The subtleties in tone and word choice are important in navigating through the storm. We either inspire confidence and establish fear or anger.
Here are 6 practices that great leaders do daily to make sure they maintain an even keel as they guide their team.
1 – Block time to reflect.
Let’s breathe a minute. And breathe deeply. Get out of our heads. Feel the connection of mind-body-spirit. Acknowledge achievement.
I personally advocate meditation for about 20 mins a day. Journaling is good. Take a walk. Hold a rock in your hand. Don’t be distracted by other people or activity. Feel the peace. Feel grounded.
2 – Express Gratitude.
We often forget was we have to be grateful for. It can be as simple as waking up each day. It can be our family, friends. It can be an experience. The more we acknowledge the gifts we receive – the more capacity we have to recognize the contribution of others.
3 – Set a daily intention.
What leader will you choose to be today? State this out loud in the mirror. Write it in your journal. Use language in the affirmative – as if you are already there! Embrace the power of manifestation! “I am a trusted leader who listens without judgement.”
4 – Acknowledge feelings throughout the day.
We all have feelings. Happy, sad, grief, loss, anger. We are human. Yet suppressing them is like putting oil on the stove. You are pretty much going to get burned.
This only takes a moment. Best practice is to set a notification on your phone and do the 30 second check-in about 4 times throughout day. Feel the feeling. Flow the feeling. And turn your attention to the present moment.
5 – Get physical.
Our physiology has a large impact on our overall well-being. The more we value ourselves and maintain our health – the more we are stay present. Just take that 10 min walk each day. Or pump iron if you prefer. Just do it! And remember to breathe.
6 – Get Sleep.
Research shows that adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Many leaders try to get by on less. And over time may have developed a routine of 4-6 hours per night. The stress that this behavior puts on our mind-body-soul integrated system often leads to ‘reactive’ behavior that undermines your leadership influence and decision-making ability.