Sep 03
Stacey Ashley Blog

What is the status of your self-leadership now?

How are you?

I mean it, really, how are you?

It’s been an unusual six to nine months, depending on where you are in the world.

I know for myself, it’s been important for me to ask myself that question recently.  “How are you?” To stop and reflect and really check in.

This is one of our key responsibilities as leaders. To make sure that we are self-supporting and self-resourcing so that we can operate at our best and are able to provide leadership in this unprecedented time. In this case, the focus is on how we show up in the First Lead Yourself framework.

First Lead Yourself

Last week, when I asked myself the question, how am I? I recognised that for the last six months I’ve been giving. I’ve been offering support and input and information to my clients on a huge scale. I’ve been available for conversations, to be a sounding board, to brainstorm with, to generate ideas, to train, to speak, to coach and to mentor.

So, it’s been all energy out, and I am so gratified that I can help my clients. Some have been struggling with a business in an industry that is being confronted by massive impacts from the pandemic, in terms of having to downsize and stand down teams, other clients have had to change strategic direction. In some businesses they have quickly upscaled. In one case, one of the businesses that I work with had to triple the size of their workforce in the space of three or four weeks, because of the demand for their product. Of course, with all of these situations there are leadership implications.

So that is one aspect of giving energy out in support. Then of course, like many, I’ve had the challenges of having school children at home, having my husband also working from home, and providing support to my family and extended family, friends and colleagues who have suffered or been impacted in a variety of ways. Again, I’m happy and grateful to be in a position to provide support.

Yet what I recognised about 10 days ago is that all of that energy out has left me a little depleted. I realised that I needed to take some time to reflect on how I was, to check in with myself, to check in with my resources, which I did. Since then I have made a couple of changes, a couple of different choices for myself, so that I am in a much better position to continue to support others.

I focused on filling my own cup, replenishing my energy, and making sure that I am ready and able to continue giving that energy out.

Let me share with you the simple process that I use to facilitate the self-reflection that enables me to choose to show up at my best.

You might be familiar with the wheel’s process. Using a simple wheel of life to identify the factors that you know bring you energy, that fill your cup, and that you need to have operating at a reasonable level, not 100%, but at a reasonable level, in order for you to be able to lead at your best. Which will allow you to show up at your leadership best.

Here is the process.

Firstly, draw a wheel with a few spokes to support your factors. I’ve used eight spokes in my wheel below.  You might have 10 or 12 or however many factors there are that really get you into your zone and find you well-supported.

What is the status of your self-leadership now - wheels1

Name your factors. They can be whatever you need to bring you energy as a leader. For me, this includes things like food, sleep and exercise, family time and outside time, learning and reading. So just name your factors on your wheel.

Then, what you do is determine on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, where do I feel I am operating at the moment. So ask yourself, “Where am I operating?”

Then you mark out the current scale for each factor.

Next, you join it up and you have somewhat of a wonky wheel, like mine.

What is the status of your self-leadership now - wheels 2

The next thing to think about is, on your wheel, in order for you to be operating at your best, where do you really need those factors to be? Again, they don’t have to be at 10, at 100%. It’s just, where do you need them to be, in order for you to be resourced and to give yourself the opportunity to operate at your best? To really show up.

Again, mark them out. Use a different colour to distinguish from your first wonky wheel. Mark your factors on the scale and then join up those points, and you will have a different version of your wonky wheel.

What is the status of your self-leadership now - wheels 3

What you will notice is, that between your two wonky wheels you have some gaps. Some of the gaps are smaller and some of the gaps are larger. Where you have the larger gaps, these are your opportunities to resource yourself, so you can be a more effective leader at the moment.

Now you need to ask yourself, what can I do to close this gap and further resource and energise myself?

What is the status of your self-leadership now - wheels 4

For me, my two big opportunity gaps were exercise and outside time.

That works for me because I can choose to add some exercise outdoors to my routine fairly easily. This creates the opportunity for me to be more energised and more resourced and more able to create a sustainable way forward for me as the leader of my tribe.

It’s the same for you. You get to choose what will do for yourself. So, if you are feeling like you are a little bit flat, it’s been a long six months and that you could use a little bit more pep in your step, I encourage you to take 10 minutes to complete this simple reflection and self-coaching exercise yourself.

It is worth drawing your wheels. It will become clear where you can focus to get real return on your energy and self-leadership.

Creating a sustainable way to be a leader is important right now because we have a marathon in front of us in terms of the COVID pandemic, and the long term implications that have arisen as a result. As leaders, we need to position ourselves to lead our teams, our organisations, our families, our friends, our communities through this ongoing change and transformation for the long term. This 10-minute activity will help you to show up as a leader every day.

I’d love to know your thoughts.

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