Embodied Leadership


Aug 9 2022


Embodied Leadership

The last three articles described how turbulence, complexity and unpredictability in the workplace produce discomfort or sometimes even stress. We all know situations that throw us off balance. Now it is often not the real weight you are carrying that causes you to collapse, but the way you carry your burden that causes a loss of resilience.

I’ll explain what I mean and then give you two practical methods for carrying a burden more easily. We’ll look at ways in which, even under severe pressure, you can stay connected with yourself, the other and what you have to do.

But first let’s look at the kind of person who moves easily through demanding situations. We all know them, colleagues who come into the room and bring instant calm. No matter how much turbulence and stress present in the team. They come in and BAM there they are. 100% relaxation and focus. With their sincere attention to others, they inspire confidence in others. They influence the quality of the conversation.

What is their secret? That’s actually the wrong question, because their way of doing things is obviously not due to a single cause. But let me highlight one aspect anyway. Chances are, when they came in, they were fully attending to the present moment. Their to do list or the complicated message they received this morning were not upfront. No. They are just, totally attentive to the group and the conversation. In the here and now. They feel their feet on the ground, consciously observe the others.

And in complex situations, the effect of all this is interesting. Because where your thinking capacity can get incredibly busy and full, your sensory perception has access to a calm and familiar feeling. After all, you’re just sitting at the conference table, with colleagues you know well. Good coffee. No hungry tiger in the corner of the room. So your immediate perception might tell you a different story about what is going on.

It was the reasoning that went on tilt and created a lens that allowed for stress. By seeking direct perception first, you relax again. And then you can start using your thinking capacity in a different way; allowing thinking to coincide with the sensory experience from moment tot moment. I call that synchronicity of body and mind. Thinking is then at the service of perceiving and not the other way around. That makes you more creative, more confident and more focused. Pretty worthwhile. The good news is that you can practice this in situations where the pressure is not so high. By running, for example. Or by meditating. You can train this synchronicity at times when there is no turbulence. And then it becomes easier to keep acting from the here and now as soon as the storm comes up. This will influence the dynamics in your team. In the next blog you will find an experiment in which you can experience the above.

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