Title Photo by: Andrew Neele | unsplash.com
Imagine a well-lit conference room. You, the team leader, are in front, writing animatedly on a glass partition that also serves as a white board. The rest of your team are nodding enthusiastically, contributing ideas, asking questions, participating. They are too involved in the meeting to even notice the buffet behind them bursting with coffee and healthy snacks.
Just a stock image—the kind that appears in newsletters you ignore or company websites you skim through to find contact information—right?
It can’t be reality because in real life, this is how your meetings look like: the same old agenda being discussed week after week. Attendees who have nothing to contribute are staring off into space or having half-whispered conversations on the side. You bring up a topic and the same heated discussion that came up last week erupts again with no one able to find a common solution or even the desire to collaborate. You are frustrated so you talk over your team and bark orders for them to figure it out. When your assistant comes in to tell you about an interviewee who has arrived too early, you snap at her and remind her that you’re still in a meeting. There is no buffet table present, even if you had skipped lunch yet again.
You leave the meeting, frustrated that nothing has been resolved and even angry at yourself for your reactions—for not being the kind of leader that inspires but instead alienates.
As a leader, you are expected to achieve the company’s objectives and to make strategic decisions. But your most important responsibility is how you motivate your team so they can be your trusted partners in achieving your department’s goals.
How do you do that in a world where resources are ever dwindling and teams are less collaborative? How can you change your reactions when you and the people you are dealing with are so stressed—with traffic, with hitting targets, with the upcoming holiday season?
Here are some ways to cope:
- Take personal responsibility.
Know that as a leader, you are not only responsible for objectives but even for the energy you bring to your encounters with your team. You can choose to bring anger and negativity or you can choose to bring collaboration and understanding.
Consider becoming the type of energy that no matter where you go or where you are, you always add value to the spaces and lives of those around you. —@yogainspiration
2. Be kind to yourself.
Understand that being a leader is a tough job. Sometimes you get it wrong. Sometimes you will fail. But the anger that you feel towards yourself, the pressure you put on yourself, will not magically transform into the positivity you want to bring to your encounters. So if you want kindness, be kind first to yourself.
3. Set an intention for the day.
When you wake up, think of how you want your day to look like. Set that intention. Remember it when you’re entering the meeting. It will help if you write down your intention in your planner or your phone calendar. Here’s a sample you can use:
I intend to bring positivity, kindness and collaboration to all my interactions today.
According to Harvard Business Review, “meditation has the potential to decrease anxiety, thereby potentially boosting resilience and performance under stress…and can strengthen your ability to regulate emotions.” It will allow you to slow down and make the next right choice instead of just reacting. Try the app, Headspace, as a good starting point for a free 10-minute guided meditation.
5. Know yourself.
Avoid setting meetings when you haven’t had lunch. Know when you’ve had too much coffee. Understand your breaking point, when you have nothing left to give, and try not to schedule more meetings then. Know your triggers so that you lessen any conflicts not caused by real problems at work.
6. Take a break.
Make the 10 minutes you arrive at work a sacred time—to settle in, to plan your day, to put yourself in your leadership-at-work mindset. Don’t work during lunch. Take breaks between meetings to decompress.
7. Ask for help.
When it all becomes too much, delegate. Ask a life coach for help in time management. Look for a mentor to guide you with your leadership skills. Look for a mastermind group inside your company. This can be composed of the heads of different departments who can help you brainstorm solutions but most importantly, be your source of support.
Then just maybe, that stock image will become your reality.
Aurora M. Suarez or Aueeie is a life coach certified by the US-based. Courageous Living Coach Certification. Aueeie helps amazing women like you get clear on what you REALLY want to do and move you towards making it happen.
When you don’t know how to take the next step, Aueeie will help you courageously move beyond uncomfortable feelings like fear, uncertainty, and self-doubt into a place of positivity, possibility, and delight. She will support you in becoming more loving towards yourself and in trusting yourself fully.
Read more of her work here: auroramsuarez.com