Your brain is designed to run on cheap fuel. That’s not really a design flaw. It was optimal when our ancestors lived on the African Savannah. But it really gets in your way of being an optimal leader because you (and the rest of us) are in habit mode, or automatic pilot, almost all day. That doesn’t mean you’re not effective, but likely you’re treading water. You’re not improving your leadership capacity.
We define leadership capacity as the ability to lead more effectively in times of increasing VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) and rapid change. You can read this in-depth article for the vital but little-understood distinction between leadership capacity (your operating system) and leadership competencies (the software you run).
We know how to increase leadership capacity in just minutes a day, and we look forward to telling you how.
Step One: Why?
The first step is getting clear about why you care about increasing your leadership capacity. Change is hard for us humans. It inevitably involves experiencing some discomfort in service of something that really matters to us. What is your “why”? What is your vision for you as a leader?
It can help to ask yourself what you hope people at your retirement party say about you as leader before you arrive. Is it just, “She really hit her numbers?” or something deeper than that?
Step Two: Understand some basic neuroscience.
It takes a lot of energy to run the frontal lobes, the seat of executive functioning. This includes insight, response flexibility, empathy, intuition, moral awareness, attuned communication, reflection, perspective taking and perspective seeking. and emotional regulation. Important abilities! But to save energy, your brain naturally reverts to automatic pilot or “habit mode.” In doing so much of what makes you a more effective leader goes offline. You’re still getting stuff done, but you’re not able to optimize our current capacity, nor build new capacity.
Step Three: Learn the process of Goal-Plan-Action-Reflection
In order to increase your capacity you have to “wake up” many times throughout the day, coming off “automatic pilot” and making more conscious choices. Building capacity requires a mindful approach, with short cycles of action and reflection.
We have developed a specific practice that will take you just minutes a day. Our leadership clients consistently report their overall effectiveness takes a quantum leap in both organizational results and employee engagement. Many report it having just as powerful an impact on their personal lives as well.
Check out the recording from our October webinar, Upgrade Your Leadership Operating System to learn more!