As leaders our performance is continually under the spotlight – we get judged by others, for better or worse – EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
We’re assessed by our boards, bosses, teams and peers and we also do our fair share of judging ourselves. Did I make the right decision? What were the impacts? Did I really consider all the factors? This internal dialogue can be very tiring, especially when the pressure is on to be performing at a high standard every day.
Sometimes this kind of self-reflection can actually lead to more internal uncertainty, rather than the sense of certainty and learning we so desperately seek. Unfortunately, this can make us appear wobbly as a leader which in turn makes it difficult for our teams to trust us. And we all know how uninspiring it is to follow a leader who always appears uncertain!
So how do we self-reflect in a way that facilitates learning and improvement but also allows us to move forward with certainty?
The answer lies in the idea of service. When we take the focus off ourselves and instead ask “how do I best serve my team / organisation in these circumstances?”, it silences internal chatter in our minds and allows us to apply our learning to the situation at hand – and to the people who need it most, our teams.
For example, rather than turning over and over a decision you’ve already made and wondering if it was the right one, instead you can begin to ask yourself: “Considering where we are now, how I can best serve my team?”. This way, you’ll come up with forward-focussed intentions, such as setting a clearer direction, consulting with your team about next steps, or how to best manage the next wave of impacts.
When we work with leaders in our Hooked on Leadership equine assisted learning program, what we know for sure is that our horses do not apply judgement. They simply take you on face value, for how you make them feel. Do they feel safe and secure in your leadership, or are you wobbly? Do you self-reflect and make adjustments to serve others, or do you get stuck in the internal chatter of your mind?
By asking “how can I serve?” rather than “did I do the right thing?” you will automatically become a more certain and inspiring leader.
If you’d like more information about how horses can teach us about ourselves, and what great leadership looks like, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our Hooked on Leadership program at www.hookedonleadership.com.au