How do you thrive at work so you can inspire and mobilize others, even in demanding circumstances? Centered Leadership is what equips leaders for leading change. As the name implies, “It’s about having a well of physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual strength that drives personal achievement, and in turn, inspires others to follow.”
Research by the McKinsey Leadership Project indicates that of the leaders who have the skill to lead through challenging circumstances, 92% are skilled in centered leadership. The global research distills 5 capabilities that, in combination, generate high levels of professional performance and life satisfaction.
Five Capabilities Are At The Heart Of Centered Leadership:
- finding meaning in work
- converting emotions such as fear or stress into opportunity
- leveraging connections and community
- acting in the face of risk
- sustaining the energy that is the life force of change
While the research began to understand how women leaders become more confident and effective business leaders, the results confirm that centered leadership is equally useful to men. For both men and women, the capacity to find meaning in our work has the strongest impact on general life satisfaction. The more dimensions mastered, the more likely respondents were to rate themselves as highly satisfied with their performance as leaders and their lives in general.
Connect With Meaning
Meaning is our ability to find our strengths and put them to work in the service of an inspiring purpose. You can recognize leaders who infuse their life and work with a sense of meaning because they convey energy and enthusiasm for a goal that is important to them.
This has been a week of hard work punctuated with emotional highs and lows. Now that I have jumped through most of the required hoops and am thinking more clearly, I realize I was looking for signs of support in the wrong places. In fact, when I wasn’t looking for support, I received what I needed most.
The new website that I thought would be completed last May was ready to go live! Feeling elated and tired, I worked through the last minute questions my web designer bombarded me with. No way did I want to slow down her progress! Still working at about 11:30 pm, my husband made a remark that annoyed me. Feeling emotionally done with this day, I quietly left the room, thinking I would go to sleep.
Excited, frustrated and mentally tired, I wondered why my husband did not notice and offer me the emotional support I “clearly needed. Couldn’t he just come into the room, stroke my hair and gently talk to me – then it would all be better.” He didn’t, I was too annoyed to ask, and my agitated thoughts kept me up until the unsightly hour of 2 a.m.
The next evening, we indulged in a movie on the big screen. After 2 hours of blissful escape, I felt my husband firmly grip my hand as he guided me down the staircase to exit the theater. I was caught off guard by how loved, valued and protected I felt in that simple, thoughtful, unexpected gesture…and a little guilty about my feeling unsupported the night before!
Are You Paying Attention To The Signs Of Support Around You?
What would be possible if you felt even a little more supported in the world?
Saying No Is Hard.
On a short family vacation, I had some time to relax, think and get clear about my priorities. I realized I was spread too thin and had noticed some projects I had agreed to really didn’t fit into my top priorities. When I said “yes”, I was excited about the projects, but now just thinking about them stresses me out. I was feeling a mix of guilt, inadequacy, and fear. How do I work toward saying no?
What do you do when you have already said “yes”? You gave your word. People are counting on you, and you pride yourself on being someone who honors commitments, no matter what. Do you suck it up and try harder, or do you call it quits?
A “Saying No” Script To Get You Started
Tell the truth. You will respect yourself, and others will respect you, too. When done well, you can save your integrity and preserve the relationship.
- As you know, back in January I agreed to chair your committee. When I said “yes”, I fully believed I had the bandwidth to do a great job.
- In March, one of my partners unexpectedly retired. Great for her, but it also dramatically impacted my workload.
- It pains me to say this, but I must step down from this commitment. The committee deserves a great outcome, and I will not be able to deliver as I thought I would.
- I apologize for causing any inconvenience. While I can’t chair the committee, I am willing to support this program moving forward by…
Although people may be disappointed that you are saying no in the short run, it is far better to retain others’ trust and your own credibility by being realistic about what you can deliver.
What have you tried that worked in this tough situation? I’d love to hear from you.
Overbooked, and overextended, it feels like there is more and more we “simply must get done”! When everything starts to feel equally important in your busy day, how do you decide the order of your to do list?
Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things matter least. ~Johaan Wolfgang van Goethe.
Preparing to leave on a short vacation intensified my week. Then good news, bad news, that first counseling session I had been anticipating with my husband worked. We began to have some important conversations that were long overdue. Good outcomes, bad timing! Important conversations take time, and there was no way I would get everything I had planned done!
Feeling overwhelmed, even a little inadequate, it was clear my usual strategy of working longer and harder on my “To Do List” wouldn’t cut it. Some things, even important things, would have to wait!
You may have heard about the 80/20 rule that asserts a small amount of causes create most of the results. What do you do when after patients, charts, and meetings, there is no way to complete your “To Do List”?
Allow What Matters To Drive Your Day And Your To Do List
Family, health, a clinical contribution? Listen to your heart and ask, “What will I most regret not having done in life?” Do that. Your happiness depends on it.
- Go small – consistently
- Identify what is most fulfilling to you
You’ve acquired a lot of knowledge, but not at one time. Success is sequential, not simultaneous. Do the right thing, and then do the next right thing.
What is the right thing? It depends on where you are going. When you know, you can make better/faster decisions.
Intelligent, dedicated physicians are frustrated with getting results to improve both patient care and financial outcomes. Nevertheless, physicians who feel better about themselves and their results are alike in one crucial way: They use their emotional intelligence.
Today’s leaders require more than vision and a high IQ. Today’s physicians get results with support and participation of a diverse team. How well you manage yourself and your relationships is a key predictor of success for your teams.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
In his worldwide best-seller, Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., explains that emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize and use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.
In another of his books, “Working with Emotional Intelligence,” Goleman demonstrates that EQ represented 67% of abilities necessary for superior performance in leaders, and mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ.
Logic And Emotional Context Help To Solve Challenges
The partial picture from the logical mind about you or your co-workers has to be accompanied by your emotional content. When you understand the whole picture, you have more potential to solve the most challenging issues, which often are people problems!
A Mindful Difference: React vs Respond
We often react defensively when uncomfortable with what is being said or done.
Responding is more thoughtful, more intentional, more active, and guided by logic. A thoughtful response maintains relationships and maintains progress toward your bigger goals.
Avoid Getting Triggered, And Get Better Results
Silvia Dias, the Medical Director of Urology in a large teaching hospital, is struggling to implement much needed changes within her department. Her new nurse manager is inexperienced, which frustrates Dr. Dias and reflects poorly in Dr. Dias’ role.
More than once, Dr. Dias has said things she regretted to her new nurse. The strained relationship has brought progress on departmental goals to a slow idle.
As we discussed Dr. Dias’ feelings and reactions to her nurse, we uncovered her desire to let the nurse know she was not doing a good job. The feeling under her reaction originated in frustration she felt having no input into hiring a key team member. Dr. Dias committed to more intentional responses to the nurse, in hopes of improving the relationship and outcome of team meetings.
Presence Is Key To Accessing Your Emotional Intelligence
Goleman reported that by “using EQ, people motivate themselves to persist in face of frustration; regulate their moods and keep distress from swamping their ability to think and empathize and hope.”
Emotional intelligence is about self-awareness, managing emotions, and handling relationships. Employ the following keys to gain access to your emotional intelligence and stay resilient implementing change:
- Pay attention to the sensations in your body, and they will reveal what emotional feelings are going on beneath the surface. These sensations may seem tense, light, heavy, or pressure.
- Adopt a practice of self-reflection to learn what triggers you. Focus on questions, such as: “Which interactions did I feel best about today?” What was it that caused feelings of frustration or inadequacy?
- Decide how you want to behave. You can’t help what emotions you feel, but you can decide how you want to react to them.
Emotional intelligence is important to physicians to keep momentum of teams moving positively forward. EQ improves your ability to manage your emotions, inspire and motivate staff, and build stronger relationships with team members.
Transforming Healthcare: What It Takes To Be “Fresh” In 2016
Which would you rather drink: water from a river or a puddle? When seeking a natural source of water, we are taught to drink from moving water, as it remains fresh. Shifts of weather and influences of other outside forces impact rivers and puddles; however, bodies of water respond in different ways.
Puddles of water change due to environmental factors and grow in times of rain or when water is added. When fresh water is not replenished, puddles become stagnant, evaporate, and eventually disappear.
A river grows, evolves, and changes shape according to landscape and environment within defined, but malleable boundaries. Rivers continue moving towards an objective – meeting a larger body of water, such as a lake, sea, or ocean. Although rivers can be redirected, channeled, and reused, rivers remain fresh.
In the must-read, new book, n=1 How the Uniqueness of Each Individual is Transforming Healthcare, authors Koster, Bisbee, and Charan believe that “questions are the best approach to uncertainty.” For readiness towards a bright future, we need to move from asking desired questions, to asking needed questions. Guiding our questions are the following key market forces creating uncertainty in the shifting landscape of current healthcare:
- Digitization: Healthcare is new to digitized information being used by patients and healthcare providers.
- Scientific innovation: Fueling broad access to information and an increasing ability to analyze care from an individual perspective
- Risk transference: A balancing act in which organizations and individuals face moving forward, despite striving to be able to afford future healthcare
Although the authors’ premises apply primarily to decision-makers in organizations, my work with physicians makes me certain that the principles apply to us personally.
What Questions Do You Need To Ask Yourself, And What Attitudes Should You Embrace?
- Accept day-to-day change as the norm. The transforming healthcare landscape is growing and evolving. We are a part of a flow that does not end. Be like a river, with malleable boundaries continuously moving towards a goal.
- Know yourself. Who do you aspire to be? Your personal values define your shores. The momentum of moving water is effective when focused on achieving a goal, yet destructive, when the rivers’ boundaries do not exist, such as during a flood. So, take care of yourself!
- Know your environment. Who are your patients and customers? What is effective for a local hospital or clinic may not be a good choice for a large healthcare system.
- Have a vision and stay aware that external conditions may influence access, design, and performance. Rigid structures, plans, or directives that do not allow flexibility or interpretive approaches limit performance, innovation, and, ultimately, success.
Look towards the river scenario to generate new opportunities and to adapt to changing circumstances. In times of transformation, don’t try to have all the answers. Staying flexible and fresh requires focusing on asking the right questions.