I recently took part in a personal performance camp with a group I belong to called Warrior Coaching. One of the exercises they had us do was hike up a steep hill with a partner and then align our movements and steps so both of us were in sync. Right foot with right foot, left with left and so on.
It sounds easy enough but it took a lot of intentional thought to stay in rhythm. It forced faster people to slow down. It forced slower people to keep a new and, often times, faster pace. It was easier the closer you were together and even easier when you each had an arm around each other’s shoulders. It also made the trek go by faster and brought you closer in relationship to your partner.
After the exercise, we had time to debrief and reflect on it as a group. Here are the key lessons that emerged that I feel can also be applied to business leaders.
- Be more mindful and intentional about others. What are your employees and team members going through in life? What pace of work are they capable of given their circumstances? What’s happening in your clients’ worlds that you should be aware of? Being mindful of others and what’s going on in their lives provides a stronger context for decision-making. From a leadership perspective, it also helps you tailor your style to meet them where they’re at – not where you want them to be.
- Shoulder-to-shoulder builds strong relationships. I’ve found the best client and employee relationships are those that occur when you’re shoulder-to-shoulder with them. You do your best to understand what they’re experiencing, you have their best interests in mind and you’re willing to sacrifice for them as a leader. This consideration, compassion, and commitment to serving others are what builds strong bonds.
- Stop focusing on the end result or outcome – just enjoy the journey in the present. This is the hard one for many driven and ambitious leaders. We love the focus that goals bring and that focus helps us to strive towards achieving it. The problem is that focusing on the outcome in the absolute can become a selfish pursuit very quickly. Instead, enjoy the journey with the team, customers, and family you have. Be mindful of them, help them take the necessary steps and lead them well towards the goal. And remember to enjoy the journey for its own sake, too. Many people come to the end of their lives and realize that their journey with others is what enriched their lives the most.
Make it great!