Carrying oneself lightly as a leader
Some of today's leaders carry the weight of their position, title, role on their shoulders. They are nothing short of Hercules carrying the world on his shoulders.
They carry the weight of identity, expectations, deadlines, performance, etc. that pulls them down.
This affects their mind space and makes them a thinking machine that doesn't stop.
This leads to a lot of stress that overflows into what they do and who they work with.
They are so caught in the pull of the drama: their situation, the people, their achievements, their importance that they seldom remember to smile.
There is no joy in their life whether professional or personal. Some of them think they don't have a right to be joyful.
They do things because they have to.
In the play of their mind,
Capability + Commitment = Responsibility
=> Seriousness = Career Growth = Self-Importance
While being responsible is an attitude that is appreciable, it does not mandate being serious (caught-up) all the time.
Light-heartedness creates energy of its own & it helps the leader to enjoy the journey.
A leader who can create an ambience of lightness in stressful situations can actually help in enhancing productivity of their team.
If you are a leader who observes (witness mode) that you are serious most of the time, there are a few things you can consider to become a little lighter. It will improve your mood and it will also help your relationships with your stakeholders.
Our inherent nature is to be joyful. So if we remove the clouds that lead to seriousness, the sun will appear again. What are the passing clouds that one should let go?
1. Need to be in control
Even if the buck stops with you, you have only certain things in your control. There will always be factors affecting the outcome that are not in your control. Being open and accepting of this truth, will help you be at ease and not be bogged down.
If you are a leader who has doubts about your own capability, insecurities creep in and it robs the energy out of you. Believe that if you are in a role, you are there for a reason and you can do your best to what is needed from you. Feelings of insufficiency, imposter syndrome, etc creates serious demeanour.
Over thinking on our commitments and its consequences can keep us in a recycled loop of thoughts causing fear and panic.
Carrying the mess from our past can also cause over-thinking.
Fear keeps us on our toes and our mind never has a space to be quiet. More on this here.
4. Locus of Identity
It's important to place the locus of our identity within ourselves and not on our achievements.
Placing it outside makes us run on a wild goose chase where we are never enough.
This causes a feeling of frustration and action (dis)orientation that drains energy. We can never enjoy the journey in pursuit of the destination(s) that defines us.
Ensure that when achievements can be taken away, who you are doesn't go along too.
As a leader, if you are still wondering what aids the creation of lightness?
It's Humour. Humour creates a reframe and gives relief from traditional ways of thinking.
It removes stress and is one of the unique qualities of human beings as a species.
When a leader develops the skill (If they believe they don't have it as yet), it enhances the experience of the journey, not only for them but for everyone around them.
What works for you to bring in light-heartedness as a leader?
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