Prior to my VP role I had not developed a leadership practise. In the past, I just always pushed through – email by email, report to report, one conversation to the next. But after my first 90 days as a VP Operations, which I can only liken to trying to drink from a fire hose, I very quickly knew that I would need to establish some routines to keep me as high functioning in life and work as possible. A leadership practise for me is defined as a leadership discipline that I do on a daily basis. Here are my leadership rituals and routines:
1. Create a healthy headspace: I arrived at the office very early each morning to get through emails and reading prior to any meetings. But the first thing I would do before I turned on my computer was meditate with Headspace: Headspace Meditation App
Some days my practise was better then the others, but regardless it helped reduce stress. I would also take time out during really busy days to practice – this was super helpful to refocus as we know stressed workers engage less. Mediating for 5 minutes is certainly more restorative than zoning out on Facebook for 20.
2. Take stock: Creating both a culture of learning within a company and being a leader that adapts and learns is key for workplace surviving and thriving. For real learning to happen in both a group or via self reflection there has to be candor. What worked? What didn’t? What can you do better or different tomorrow? My journal is chock full of learning – lots of it.
3. Ground yourself: Sometimes my head would get so busy and I would take a few minutes, go outside, take off my shoes and put my bare feet in the grass. Best done out of the sight lines of your bosses and colleagues, but instantly grounding.
4. Unbiased Support: Coaching was a game changer for me. Coaching increased my accountability, supported with confidence and reminded me of what I value most. Find a coach who can give you unbiased support.
5. Breathe: My coach told me to breathe more and her advice worked. I breathed through tough meetings, tight deadlines, driving too quickly to school pick up. I breathed and breathed and breathed some more. I had some difficulty with 7-11 breath count so I did in for a count of 3 and out for 5. As long as the out-breath is longer than the in-breath it will work to calm your nerves. Slow and steady – then on with your day.
I would love to hear about your leadership practice. Got some routines to share?