While the world crumbles outside, our inner-self is adrift. The waves of COVID-19 are washing out our bays and leaving us with high levels of stress and despair.
Most of us are frustrated, hopeless, and unsure of how to manage ourselves, let alone the people around us. Many leaders are disoriented and unbalanced, given the pressure stemming from severe restrictions, economic drawbacks, and evolving landscapes. This situation brings to the surface an unanchored community in desperate need of clear direction.
While some leaders have successfully pivoted and adjusted to change, others struggle to adapt to the forceful tide. The latter may resort to impulsive behaviours, putting up a facade of strength and intimidation that has proven ineffective. Or they may stay stagnant, unable to grow.
But what marks the difference between a resilient and innovative leader versus a reactive one? How can the captains of government departments, large and small organizations, steer their ships, inspire their teams, and conquer during these uncertain times?
Do they need charisma, money, or power?
None of the above.
What we need right now is raw and real leadership.
The Problem: Reactive Leadership
There’s too much noise out there. We are deafened by the news, the limits placed around us, and the inability to look past our pain.
As a community and workforce, we look up to our leaders, founders, and department heads to understand the path we are on, our common goals, and how we’ll get there. We crave some light in times like these to feel safe, continue working and living.
Reactive leadership poses a challenge to the mix. Reactive leaders are disconnected from the rhythm and people in their organizations, so much that they enter a cycle of maladaptive ways of responding to change and difficulties. This pattern often results in toxic and counterproductive environments that fail to empower teams and separate them from desired outcomes.
How can we ask people to stay the course when the leaders they look up to are not acting according to their purpose and values?
Instead of a thriving group, we get stressed, scared, and fed-up workers who may leave organizations because they feel unsafe or stuck. They yearn for connection, empathy, and guidance but can’t seem to find solace.
This leadership crisis calls for a collective look inward to become “response-able” leaders.
The Solution: Response-Able Leadership
“Response-able” leaders are raw and genuine. They are mindful individuals, aware of who they are, their mission and vision, in a way that allows them to make choices for the benefit of their organizations.
Mindfulness qualities of awareness, compassion, curiosity, patience, balance, and loving-kindness can help leaders come into alignment to deepen the meaning and forward their action. Response-able leaders promote vulnerability and social-emotional wellness in the workplace and respond to adversities with grounded initiatives.
The idea is to make an effort to consciously choose how to act, communicate, and lead the community, both in their professional and personal lives, to spark a ripple effect.
How to Become a Response-Able Leader
Through mindfulness, leaders can embrace awareness and tap into their moral compass. They are able to make balanced decisions and take actions considering how they impact others.
Here are a few ways you can use mindfulness to hone your capacity to lead response-ably:
Find Your Anchor
Engage in grounding practices to establish a stronger connection to yourself, your purpose, and the world around you.
Some common grounding exercises include:
- Taking mindful walks
- Practicing rooting yoga poses (e.g., tree pose)
- Having mindful conversations or brainstorming sessions with peers
- Doing body awareness exercises (e.g., progressive muscle relaxation)
You can also find objects, images, or symbols important to you that offer balance—things like rocks, amulets, candles, photos, among other items.
Follow Awareness With Actions
Grounding and awareness are critical to a mindful leader. But sometimes, they become void without concrete actions.
Spread mindfulness at work by:
- Running mindful meetings (e.g., device-free meetings, walking meetings)
- Listening to your employees and colleagues with attention
- Setting intentions aligned with your company’s mission, vision, and goals
- Focusing on finding solutions versus dwelling on problems
- Encouraging the workforce to practise mindfulness through training, mindful moments, or wellness programs
- And more!
The idea is to have an effect that trickles down, weaves in, and becomes the fabric of the organization.
Mindfulness coaching can empower you to explore your inner world and provide tools to transform your life and the life of those around you.
Whether you want to improve your leadership skills or your team has given you feedback that calls for stepping up and shifting your ways, a mindfulness coach can help you.
Raw and real leadership takes courage, but it is crucial during this unprecedented crisis. Understanding who you are, grounding yourself into your purpose, and performing empathetic and mindful actions can help you steer your boat and everyone in it.
Senses Mindfulness Coaching offers a unique blend of coaching support, therapeutic interventions, and mind-body practices to help individuals lead a whole and healthy journey.