Whether you're a new leader or you've been in your role for a while, let me ask a question: Do you feel equipped to lead?
For many leaders, the answer is "no." Instead of empowered, they feel ineffective and stressed out trying to juggle all their responsibilities. They look for tips and tricks to help them manage their people and time, but nothing seems to stick.
According to Dr. Daphne Scott, an expert in mindful leadership, that's because stress isn't the result of specific situations, circumstances, or people. It comes from the way leaders relate to those things.
Dr. Scott, author of Waking Up A Leader explained to me that leaders often focus on improving transactional skills like budgeting and scheduling. Those skills are only helpful when leaders are also willing to reevaluate their internal relationships to challenges they all face daily.
5 Relationships to Cultivate for Good Leadership
In order to become the kind of leader you've dreamed about, the first step is cultivating a healthy mindset. The following five relationships have the strongest impact on leaders' outlooks and skills.
Time, as we traditionally know it, is a convention. "We created the clock to keep ourselves organized," says Dr. Scott, "but time becomes unhelpful when we think of it as something finite."
People often get stressed and start thinking of time as something that needs to be managed and controlled. Try to remind yourself that your stress is coming from your own thoughts and fears.
Maybe you do need to fine-tune your practical time-management skills, but after changing your internal mindset, you will have more clarity about the actions you need to take.
Many leaders are befuddled by the stark reality that they have worked many years to earn a lot of money only to find that they aren't any happier.
According to Dr. Scott, if you really want to increase your capacity for effective leadership, use your monetary resources to "buy back" time. Hire someone to do the things you don't want to do. Find someone to clean the house or deliver groceries.
By paying someone to do these things, you're placing a greater value on your time than money itself.
3. The Self.
Many leaders are attached to their success, image, and control. They run thriving companies, but they don't sleep at night. Their behavior is driven by a need to maintain a certain kind of belief about who they have to be.
Being successful isn't a problem; the problem is that doing all those things no longer seems like a choice. Dr. Scott claims, "Good leaders aren't bound by the myths of success, and they are willing to challenge authority--even the authority of the stories they tell themselves."
You don't have to stop having goals, but you can relate to work in a healthy way.
Many professionals exist in silos, trying to maintain the identity of "the boss." The problem is that this life ultimately leads to being alone and isolated.
"Business culture in the United States values getting things done more than it values spending time helping another person," she told me. "Most of our interactions with people in organizations involve narrow agendas that don't operate at a human level of connection."
In order to have healthy work relationships, be authentic. Stop worrying about whether others see you as perfect.
5. The Unknown
In business, leaders spend so much time anticipating the unknown. They try to figure out all the possibilities, but their efforts end up being an exercise in futility.
Planning in and of itself isn't bad. "The problem is that leaders get so caught up in this type of thinking that they lose sight of their deepest truths," Scott says. "The key is learning to be okay with not knowing." Once you have that perspective, it's easier to effectively engage in goal setting and planning.
Transforming the World
Dr. Scott argues that how we manage these five relationships significantly impacts how strong we are as leaders. Leaders who cultivate a healthy mindset in these five areas will be driven by integrity and clear vision instead of stress, financial motives, and self-sacrifice.
By transforming their own worldview, leaders will be able to make even greater transformations in the world around them.