Is your way-of-being impacting your leadership?

The answer is yes. Leadership happens in moments; moments of sense-making, moments of relationship-building, and moments of decision-making. Your way-of-being is your overall state at any moment of the day. It determines how you adapt, respond and lead at any given moment.

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In the busyness of your day, what does it mean to adapt? How do you do it? This is where the idea of your way-of-being is very powerful and practical. Your way-of-being is the overall state you are in at any moment of the day. It is how you are or feel most of the time.

What comes to mind when you stop and consciously think about how you are?

You might become aware of your mood, what you have been thinking about recently, and what you are experiencing physically, such as whether you are tense or relaxed. In our moment-to-moment existence, all these dimensions come together in one whole and integrated experience. The model of your way-of-being illustrated in Figure 4 below was developed by Rafael Echeverria and Julio Olalla and described in Alan Sieler’s series of books Coaching to the Human Soul.

You can see that our way-of-being in the world at any moment in time is the result of biologically driven interactions between the language we use to make sense of our experience, our body (nervous system, physiology and body shape), and the emotions and mood we are in.

The key point is that this interaction is dynamic. Each of the elements triggers the others and then feeds back into the whole system.

Putting it into practice

To understand how our way-of-being works, let’s look at one of the most common experiences that new leaders face: participating in meetings with senior leaders who they have previously not had much to do with. Most people experience some level of nervousness or anxiety when they first start attending new meetings. It goes to a whole new level when you must present to the group and participate in robust conversations.

These scenarios are clear examples of the influence your way-of-being has on your impact as a leader. Imagine you are required to present the business plan and budget for your area of responsibility.

You will be presenting to the most senior leader in your organisation (the CEO, or perhaps the department secretary), the head of the finance team, three other senior leaders, and your boss. (Frankly, even as you start to imagine this scenario you may be experiencing some changes in your way-of-being!)

Let’s say it’s two hours before the meeting. You’ve got your presentation together, and you are sitting in a meeting room going through it.

1. Body – you might be hunched over your laptop with your jaw and facial muscles tight as you strain and strive to remember your key points and imagine the questions that the head of finance will ask.

2. Mood – very anxious. You have been in previous meetings where the head of finance really carved up one of your peers.

3. Language – perhaps thoughts like these are going through your head: ‘John really got carved up when he presented last week.’ ‘What if I can’t answer a question the head of finance asks?’ ‘I can get a real brain-freeze when I’m put on the spot. Gee, I hope that doesn’t happen today.’ Sometimes there are even deeper narratives running through your head, like ‘I feel like a total fraud!’ or ‘I actually have no idea what I’m talking about,’ or ‘I’m just a kid from the country – what am I doing here!’

The way-of-being you find yourself in each moment of each day as a leader determines how well you handle conversations, how open you are, and the decisions you make. The better you are at being an observer of your own way-of-being, the more you will be able to adapt your language, mood and body to shift into a more productive one. This will open new ways of interpreting your experience and expand your range of possibilities. Your experience of what is going on includes making sense of business situations and opening up new possibilities for strategies and actions.

In a world of constant change, complexity and ambiguity, being a leader of leaders who can actively adapt to new and emerging situations is impactful for both you and your organisation.

Transform your people from overworked to incredibly impactful.

Contact Being Leaders to find out more.

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Is your way-of-being impacting your leadership?

The answer is yes. Leadership happens in moments; moments of sense-making, moments of relationship-building, and moments of decision-making. Your way-of-being is your overall state at any moment of the day. It determines how you adapt, respond and lead at any given moment.

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