It’s only now as a leader that I realize who I dare to share my personal strengths and vulnerability with.
I’m not as guarded anymore. I dare to be more personally transparent. This is a trait that my time in the entrepreneurial environment has helped develop. The past few years have been an awakening and have taught me how to manage my life, professionally and privately. I now liberally share this learning with young leaders who ask for my best advice across many countries globally. I would have loved to get that advice when I ventured into management myself. One piece of advice, in particular, is essential:
Remember your self-management.
Remember to refuel your own energy tank before you give to others. If you’re not high on energy, others will have to wait. If you’re especially sensitive and possess intuition that makes you know things instinctively before you know them as a fact, you need to be even more conscious than others to recharge your personal energy level.
If you feel like you’re struggling, you must consider whether every struggle is worth the effort. It isn’t if there’s no end to it. Therefore, part with your current employer if the fight seems endless, reduces your quality of life, diminishes the joy of getting up in the morning, and you feel like you’re suffocated by poisonous energy before you go to bed at night.
I meet many women and men who have opted out of the fight, and I believe that we are nearing a paradigm shift where companies are either self-destructive war zones or detoxed islands populated by the people who have opted out. This is a global trend.
I recently met a Japanese top management candidate in her mid-fifties who told me that she didn’t want to fight anymore. She was getting up in the morning to face drama and went to bed at night still caught up in drama and now was the time to end it.
You may have the competences to manage the drama and solve local or global conflicts again and again and again. Consequently, you’re asked to take on that responsibility in different contexts, formally as well as informally. However, you have to ask yourself whether you’re a valuable conflict resolution resource or if you’ve instead become a scapegoat for the people who are actually responsible. If this is the case, you enable repetitive evasive actions and help those responsible avoid rising to the occasion to deliver what their titles actually require of them.
The basic realisation starts with simply deciding what type of life you want to live and thereby increasing your awareness of what either drains or energizes you. What mood would you like to wake up in when reading your first emails and starting your day, and what energy would you like to breathe just before going to bed at night and give your body peace to rest? The choice is yours. Be aware of the choice you make.
Founder of the Global Voices project. Belongingness officer and an experienced People Executive.