Being a leader comes with a plethora of daily pressures. You’re so busy making decisions; working through all the needs of staff, customers, and supervisors; keeping the budget balanced; and a myriad of other tasks, that it’s no wonder your basic human needs are rarely met.
As a leadership coach, I work with managers at all levels to help them understand and meet their employees’ basic human needs. But, I find I have to remind them that THEY have basic needs as well. If theirs aren’t being met, it becomes difficult to lead their employees to a place where they feel safe, seen, heard, respected, connected and feel like they belong and can contribute.
What’s a leader to do?
1. Determine how much involvement you REALLY need to have in your team’s work. How much do you need to be seen and heard, or to contribute to the projects your team works on? Set them up for success and let them do their job.
Make sure teams know exactly what they are expected to accomplish. What outcomes do you want from them? What are the parameters for achieving those outcomes?
Ensure they have the resources they need to accomplish their task.
Set up accountability check-ins and a completion date.
Give them space to do the work without your interference. This can be hard to do. When teams are working well, leaders often aren’t sure what to do with themselves. After setting up an interactive meeting with small groups to accomplish three tasks, one leader told me he had to envision a seat belt holding him in his seat so he wouldn’t intervene in the work of the groups. He had a hard time focusing on other things because his practice had been to actively involve himself and his ideas in any of these small team meetings.
2. Set a 30-minute, re-energizer appointment with yourself. Actually schedule in 30 minutes of focused quiet time every day. Distraction free: no phones, no emails, no people. It’s vital to your ability to keep the vision of the organization, determine strategy, and create the positive attitude that keeps your confidence high and your attitude positive. So, what do you do with 30 minutes of daily focused time?
Meditate. Research shows that meditating every day creates more mindfulness, or the ability to live in the present, which science shows is associated with positive thinking. Positive thinking is critical to the high energy that allows leaders to see opportunities rather than challenges.
Write. Record the most positive experiences you have each day. The more you focus on the positive, the better your mood and physical health. This increases your ability to make better decisions, hold the vision, and create strategy.
Play. Make time to have fun. Put it on your calendar and force yourself to follow through with your plans, whether it’s a bike ride, a walk, playing catch with your child, or meeting a friend for coffee.
Sure, it can be hard to imagine – fitting 30 minutes of “Zen” time into your busy schedule. But remember, if you spend your workdays amid a barrage of emails, tweets, and meetings, while wolfing down lunch in front of a screen, you’re more likely to enter a state of mindLESSness than mindFULLness. Take the time to focus on you and you will better understand others’ needs and how to best meet them.
Everybody has basic human needs. If yours aren’t being met, it will be difficult to meet those of your employees. Taking care of yourself is beneficial to you and your staff. And since your mood and your actions are contagious, you may find your employees embracing the re-energizer idea too.
A happier staff, a happier you, and a healthier overall workplace increases positivity and productivity. If you need help creating a more mindful, positive workplace, contact us at: Joy@MaximizeYourLeadership.com.
About Joy Humbarger
Joy is the CEO and founder of Maximize Your Leadership. With more than 30 years of coaching experience in the education and leadership fields, Joy is an expert in transforming mindsets and organizational culture, and turning workplace negativity into productivity and profitability. She is a contributing author of The Change, a national collection of tips and stories to inspire others to take their leadership to the next level. She provides individual and group leadership coaching. To schedule a presentation, workshop or consultation with Joy, email Joy@MaximizeYourLeadership.com.