Cultivating strong roots has been a recurring theme with me and my clients over the past several weeks. Hence my personal quote for the week is: "The more grounded you are in yourself the more you can guide others.”
The word “grounded" is most often associated with yoga nowadays - being present in the here and now. But here I refer to “grounding” as being true to your values, strengths, and imperfections, and understanding how these influence what you expect of yourself and others.
We are all called to duty to perform roles for which we do not feel fully prepared or a “natural fit.” It is in these moments and roles during which it is most important for us to stay grounded, else we risk performing from a base of fear and reactivity instead of strength and foresight. And yet, it is also in these moments and roles, that standing our ground is the most difficult because we are influenced by expectations set by others.
We often cast ourselves under a shadow of believing we need to perform like Person X (whether a predecessor or an icon or a mentor). Sometimes the shadow is cast over us by others. However, this cookie cutter expectation sets everyone up for failure.
As leaders, one of our most important duties is to create the environment for our organizations to succeed, and how you do this will be (not just might be) very different from how someone else would do this. We need to embrace the fact that that our approaches are undeniably guided by our values, strengths, and imperfections, and the more we respect our diversity, the better we can perform and help others perform.
I have found myself over the past several weeks asking variants of the following questions of my clients as they ground themselves for new roles or new changes:
- What do you value, and why?
- What values are not important to you? Why?
- What does the organization/family/community need to be successful?
- What strengths do you bring to the table that will contribute to this need?
- What are you not bringing to the table that is needed?
- How does this shape your expectations of others?
- How does this shape what you can provide to your organization vs. what you will need to find others to support you in providing?
My hope is to share these questions as food for thought because I believe that we will all mutually benefit as a community of peers, managers, subordinates, family, etc. if each of us can become more “grounded” and help others do so as well.
About the author: Janet Andrews is a leadership coach and consultant who is fascinated by the ecosystem of organizations. She specializes in helping companies and teams improve their effectiveness by cultivating how people associate with one another to create a multiplier performance effect.