I have pointed in earlier posts that the world is craving greater leadership. And for the most part, up till recently, we have misunderstood the true path of leadership development. In this post, I offer some pointings that support the unfoldment of Authentic Courageous Leadership. When followed these will dramatically increase your capacity to be an Authentic Courageous Leader. The goal is not to work your butt off but rather to learn to let the game come to you and become aware of which actions are impactful and which are a waste of time.
The primary emphasis of leadership is creating contexts that bring out the best in others to facilitate high performance in service to a great mission. The most compelling context includes the leader’s very presence, enrollment into a shared vision and the culture they help to co-create. When a leader creates the right context, they remove obstacles to achievement and innovation.
The example of consciously creating culture is a potent example. When the leaders in the organization commit to being collaborative, model it and coach others to follow suit – most drama and unnecessary conflict dissolves. The context of culture removes fertile ground for such things.
The conscious engagement of context is nearly impossible with a lack of self-awareness. The number one job of an executive who desires to engage leadership is to grow their self-awareness. This engagement is critical because awareness is the mother of contexts for action.
Becoming more self-aware is not some soft skill. It is about becoming aware of the one who is ALREADY aware. As I share in my report on Authentic Courageous Leadership entitled ‘Stop Chasing After It, Let the Game Come to You,’ awareness is the ground of being from which all action emerges. When we become aware of the one who is already aware within us, we get in the zone and operate more spontaneously and appropriately to each moment. When we are present, we are more resourceful and engage our entire bandwidth in leveraging opportunities and overcoming challenges.
If athletes worked the way most executives do, they’d have atrophied muscles and would suffer in performance. Many executives are addicted to being in action. They mistake intellectual prowess as the primary reason for their success. Certainly, having a sharp intellect and profound business acumen is important, but in the end, they are not the qualities that set a leader a part from a competent business person.
The 80/20 rule applies here. This postulate, often quoted, states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts. I apply this to our thinking. In other words, 20% of our thoughts add up to 80% of our effectiveness. My clients find this out through their work with me because one of the primary things I show them is that most of what they think are not worth giving the time of day. The thoughts that matter least include our worries, fretting, judging, and the desire to be right about everything.
Executives today live in high ambiguity, and the idea they can figure everything out intellectually just causes stress. For the most part, overindulgence in thinking just burns up oxygen and glucose – the major foods for the brain. It is the primary cause of burn out. But when an executive learns to relax into awareness by engaging meditation or mindfulness practices – they experience flow in their work and more naturally overcome obstacles.
Finally, working is no different from any other area of your life. As one of my mentors says ‘life takes care of life.’ We are, after all, part of life. There is intelligence within us that knows what to do and when to do it. Nature shows us this. For example, just as a tree knows when to lose its leaves and when to grow them again – when a human being taps into a more instinctual place, they also tap into nature’s timing. The game comes to the executive when they learn they can’t control very much. The reality is the only thing they have total control over is where they place their attention.
When Authentic Courageous Leaders begin to trust the natural timing of stuff more and stop forcing things, we realize the unique opportunity every moment brings. For example, when we are having a conversation with a direct report, we are there for that conversation – not trying to figure out what we are going to do about an issue with a fellow peer. We understand, the solution to the situation with the peer will work itself out at the right time, and we attend to what is at hand.
The complexity of today is calling for greater simplicity in approach. The pointings above do not mean we turn away from examining issues through our sharp intellects. The intellect is still an essential tool in our tool box. The fast pace of our environment today is demanding we trust a deeper, more original part of us that knows what to do. The truth is our brains cannot possibly keep up. The good news is the true you; the deeper awareness is what sources the thinking side of us. And when we tap into it, we just operate at a much higher level and no challenge – no matter how big – can stop us.
Again, if this resonates feel free to download my free report on Authentic Courageous Leadership entitled ‘Stop Chasing It, Let the Game Come to You‘ by following the link.
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