Through mindfulness I’ve been better at more accurately analyzing my behavior, perceptions, and thought processes. I had these thoughts while trying to write about leadership. To my surprise, my perceptions changed, and I was able to see what I once thought was a weakness in my leadership style, as strength.
Who was your best leader? What was it about them that made them worthy to follow? I asked this question to myself today and it took quite a while for me to think who my best leader was, and even still I could not reach a consensus.
Instead, what popped into my head were specific leadership strengths that each person had. Certain leaders in my past had completely opposite ways of motivating me. Some of my favorite bosses would motivate me with praise, while others would motivate me by doubting my abilities, and even others would model the expectation and lead by doing.
As this cyclone of leadership memories engulfed my mind, one thing became clearer: there are many ways to be a leader. I see this in my 5th grade team each and every day. We all skin our cats in very different ways, and even though we all have our own unique styles, we are all very effective. Each member of the team has unique backgrounds and experiences, and that has shaped our own excellent leadership styles.
I still find even this slightly perplexing. It’s easier to analyze things when there is one exact formula, but when it comes to leadership there are so many variables to factor in! If there is no standard way to gain leadership skills, how do you know if you’re being a good leader?
At first I thought this was a weakness for me. At times I do not know what makes me a good leader. I am constantly analyzing my behavior, decisions, and interactions with others. I am also very observant of other leaders (both effective and ineffective) and continuously using their behaviors as lessons to adjust my own leadership style. I thought a good leader should always know what they are doing at every moment, stick to their technique and be consistent. Shouldn’t a good leader be confident in their style and not critique it?
When I’m most critical of my leadership style is when things are going smoothly. When my leadership style flows seamlessly is when I get the most analytical and observant. Why is it going well? What am I doing right? How can I make it better? I felt this was a weakness in the sense that I should just go with the flow and let it happen naturally. It took great self-reflection to realize that this continual goal for improvement is what is making me a better leader.
I have to once again credit mindfulness for this self-assessment and improvement in my life. My “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude is slowly changing in all facets of my life. It’s okay to strive to be better in all we do, and even if things are going well, it can get better. My perceptions of situations are getting clearer and more accurate, and I’m able to use what I see to make the appropriate decisions and adjustments. It really is an amazing feeling when the bigger picture comes into focus clearer than ever before.
I strongly suggest that you try mindfulness meditation and see what it can do for you on both a personal and professional level. It has provided a deeper level of thoughts and clarity than I thought possible. Create some space in your life, and see what happens.