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10 Practices for Leading Lightly

Posted on September 23, 2015 at 10:45 AM
A big shout-out to our friend Habib Tahmas with SAUSD.  He shared this great article on sustaining yourself as a leader.  
It takes time and effort to be an effective leader.  It's just so easy to get caught up in the daily grind of work and as soon as we do this, we end up in a bad place quickly.  Once we arrive there, it's really hard to lead effectively. You've got to take care of yourself and put the time in to make sure you are healthy and that your head is squarely on your neck!  

Remember - as you rise up the "food chain", you are lucky to be where you are.  Someone gave you that power and someone can take it away just as easily.  Leadership is earned through hard work and humility.  So, get to work and have a great day today!

10 Practices for Leading Lightly | Soul To Work
1. Care for your body
2. Care for your mind
3. Put first things first
4. Learn to be curious
5. Keep your perspective
6. Let others in
7. Choose your words
8. Show yourself compassion
9. Laugh and smile
10. Commit an act of kindness
-------------------------

The nature of leadership is resistance and change.

A constant struggle to bring ideas and opportunities to life and overcome

a myriad of obstacles in order to achieve goals which, once achieved, will

be replaced by a new set of goals with many of the same challenges. Even

if we by nature love the role of leadership, this perpetual cycle can wear

us down over time, sapping our creative energy and our joy.

As evidence to this reality, we can observe hundreds if not thousands of

articles, blog posts, videos and social media comments in the coming

week that will offer various approaches and solutions to all the

complexities leaders face. Not only are we confronted with the daily

struggle to understand, prioritize and act on the many decisions we will

face, but we also have the nagging worry about whether we are “doing it

right” in light of our own high expectations those of our bosses, peers,

and followers. The pressure can be enormous at times, but more often it

is the compound effect of these constant daily struggles that puts us on

edge.

How do we deal with this ceaseless demand on our mental and emotional

energy and the stress it induces?

As human beings, our first inclination is to either escape, withdraw or act

out in an effort to avoid or deflect our discomfort. While this approach

may provide some short-term relief it will, over time, add to the problem.

It is important to remember that this is a natural temptation. To judge

ourselves for being human only makes matters worse. Most leaders have

a deep desire to do good work, make a positive impact, care for their

team and excel in their mission. Yet these noble intentions alone will not

sustain us.

Learning to lead lightly is a series of practices that can help us manage

our energy and act in alignment with our best intentions.

10 Practices for Leading Lightly | Soul To Work

1. Care for your body – Get adequate sleep, exercise regularly and eat

healthy foods. This is the source of your physical energy and provides

the capacity to follow through on other actions that will serve your

leadership effectiveness.

2. Care for your mind – Learn to relax and quiet your mind through

meditation and practice putting your mind into a positive state at the

beginning of each day. Take the time to expand your mind through

reading, journaling and reflection.This is the source of your mental

energy and focus.

3. Put first things first – Using your time effectively and focusing your

attention on the things that matter most rather than the multitude of

distractions that offer themselves to you throughout the day will help

reduce your worry and frustration. Even what seems like a mindless

detour can sap the energy that you need for more important tasks.

This allows you to use your energy effectively and feel positive about

the contribution you are making.

4. Learn to be curious – Try approaching the events of the day as a

curious observer with an open mind. Make it your intention to see

what is unique about each situation and allow yourself be patient and

observe before you act. Have fun with it if you can. This allows you to

move with rather than resist the challenges of the day.

5. Keep your perspective – Remember that the vast majority of

situations you will face are not life or death, (though people around

you may be freaking out). Your body may, at first, tense up and your

mind may overreact to the story it creates but when you pause to

remember the big picture and what really matters you can move into

a more helpful state of mind. This allows you to avoid burning energy

on an imaginary crisis.

6. Let others in – Talking things through with another person, sharing

the burden and hearing a different point of view can help you

recalibrate and center your thinking so that you are better prepared

to make decisions or take action. This is how we tap into the energy

of our team and renew our capacity.

7. Choose your words – How you describe your experiences will have a

direct impact on how you feel about them and the way you will react.

You can choose to be fascinated instead of frustrated or see an

opportunity instead of an obstacle. It may sound overly simplistic, but

words do have power. Your mind and body will respond to the way

you frame the situation. This allows you to channel your energy in a

constructive direction.

8. Show yourself compassion – You won’t always get it right, respond

appropriately or choose wisely and that’s ok. Beating yourself up will

not help the situation and will burn a tremendous amount of energy.

Treat yourself like a good friend. Offer yourself some wise counsel,

give yourself some encouragement and then move on. This allows

you to channel your energy into learning and growing.

9. Laugh and smile – Life is short and work consumes a big chunk of our

time. There is no reason we can’t enjoy ourselves in the process.

When we laugh and smile our energy is renewed. Sometimes it’s the

absurdity of the things that make us upset that can provide the best

moments of humor. This gives us a natural energy boost during the

day and helps us renew a positive mindset.

10. Commit an act of kindness – Around us every day there are people

who need encouragement, support or a kind word. If you want to

boost your emotional energy and give yourself a lift, lift up someone

else. It’s tempting to be too busy or too focused to stop and be there

for someone else, but that moment may be just the spark

that energizes the rest of your day and makes it all feel worthwhile.

This is a constant source of renewable energy and best of all it is

energy that spreads to others.

Much of the burden we shoulder as leaders is self-imposed. By learning

to lead lightly, we can be more available to the people we serve and

sustain the emotional, mental and physical energy we need to meet the

demands of our work.


Categories: Leadership

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