Leaders are driven by a desire to improve the performance of their company, and their people, to succeed. Compelled to develop new methods and protocol to drive innovation, they are often considered pioneers in their chosen field. And yet it takes far more than a willingness to succeed to lead an organization along the path to greatness. Over the course of a career leaders may find the need for guidance. This is especially true for those with a long tenure.
Daphne* was on the fast track in her career. She started with her company straight out of business school, and 20 years later was the one of only a few senior ranking female executives in a male-dominated industry. In her role as a leader, she was driving change and innovation and was responsible for over a billion dollars in revenue, and an organization of over 1200. That’s a lot of pressure for one individual to sustain indefinitely. And although Daphne was on a definitive track, the closer she got to reaching those benchmarks, the more she found herself hitting a wall.
Leadership Landing engaged with Daphne to understand where she was in her career. Through a series of coaching exercises, her coach introduced the idea of intentionality and self-awareness into her leadership practice. What most people may not realize is the very act of leading with intention allows a leader to be more present in how they act—and most importantly react—in any given situation. And when a leader chooses to accept ownership and take responsibility for how they act in their work environment, it can be game-changing.
There is a common misunderstanding that occurs in the workplace when interactions are sometimes perceived to cause pain, frustration, and anxiety on an individual level, and these feelings are perceived as though others are deliberately delaying our progress or creating hurdles for further development. Too often we rush to respond to a situation, when we should take the time to digest what is happening internally and sort out the appropriate response. This misunderstanding happens at every level and can create animosity within an organization. At times, it can also derail leaders from seeing the bigger picture and its impact on the workforce.
When you intentionally take a moment to reflect on a situation, it creates an opportunity to assess the best course of action, and determine what response would be of greater service for the good of the company. Self-awareness allows a leader, in that moment, to self-check and self-correct, to be more deliberate and purposeful in their response.
Consider this: if you are rigid, the person you’re speaking with will mirror your behavior, which in-turn will thwart an opportunity to have an open conversation.
In Daphne’s case, it was coming to an understanding that every interaction no matter how great or small would benefit from taking pause. She could decide what response would actually be helpful, and have the kind of reaction that would meet the circumstance in a productive way. In leading with intention Daphne was able to set an example across the organization to create a healthier working environment, one that encouraged a genuine, authentic dialogue.
The path to greatness as a leader reaches far beyond your day-to-day business activities. It requires intentionality, concerted thought, and self-awareness to incur positive change in how you approach your career. The transformation that happened for Daphne is the transformation that happens for so many people when they separate themselves, their true selves, from their reactions.
Leadership Landing has been on the forefront of incorporating mindfulness into its leadership coaching practice. Our sole purpose is to help leaders become more self-aware, more mindful, more deliberate, better able to connect intentions with decisions, and better-equipped to enable the people around them to excel in the workplace.
*Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.