My organisation works with senior level executives. One of the common issues that the senior corporate folks complain about is the lack of energy or commitment or collaboration among the mid-level employees in the organisation. And one of the common issues that the mid-level employees complain is about the lack of energy or commitment or collaboration among the senior level employees in their organisation! So it seems like a circle of blame going around. Each one is expecting the other to behave in a particular way.
And when we work with these groups of people to help define the behaviours that can bring about energy, collaboration etc, they quickly come up with a long list. But it is all for the others- for my team, for the junior guys, for rest of the organisation. When we push them to think about the behaviours they need to embody themselves before asking anyone else to do so, behaviours they can demonstrate, the teams realize it starts from them.
Besides my consulting work with companies, I also teach posture. A way to restore bodies to our primal posture and lead a pain free life. I went through an intense process to be certified to teach. I was evaluated for my knowledge of human anatomy.
I had to have the right kinesthetic approach to help people assimilate the learning into their bodies. And my peers watched my posture throughout the teaching to ensure that I stayed deeply aware of it. So it was not just my words and actions that was evaluated but also how I was “being” the posture that I was teaching. As I teach more people, I realize its significance. My students are constantly watching me. I might be teaching them about sitting but they are observing how I walk, how I stand and how I bend to pick up the mat etc. They are subconsciously recording every movement and registering them – in their conscious mind. And then when I actually teach them the techniques, they see that I am not merely giving them the intellectual or kinesthetic knowledge, but just being what I am saying. They are suddenly hopeful that they can be like that too. And I remember that is how I learnt from my posture teacher.
I discovered that the most effective way of teaching is demonstrating in my posture what I want others to learn. I have to exhibit what I teach in everything that I do. Anything less than that, then I would be merely giving some intellectual concepts or share academic knowledge. Not being authentic.
My husband and I recently signed up with a fitness coach. Our coach focuses on helping us workout intelligently, reach our potential and enjoy good long term health. And his approach is quite different from the usual personal trainers I have known. He is not present with us every day, he doesn’t draw up a daily schedule or a calorie sheet. He doesn’t prescribe everyday diet. What he does is, helps us set a vision for our fitness and then nudges us to work towards it. He propagates active life, so one will spot him cycling to meet his client 30kms away or to do his chores. He believes his aim should be to inspire others around him to stay fit, so he takes people on treks, runs as a pacer for marathons and encourages others to reach their potential. People want to be like him, we want to be like him, healthy and fit. He lives what he teaches. He inspires us and the people around him with his being.
As I reflected on the people who have influenced me the most, I observed it’s not as much what they said, but what I saw how they were living their teachings. I have experienced their presence and been touched in unknown ways. I have come to realize there is immeasurable power being the light and very little leverage in asking someone to do something. When I truly embody what I want others to do, my light inspires others. I do not have to say much. I do not have to do much. My being reflects what others need to see, hear and learn.
And it is the same in organisations too. If the leadership lives the values and demonstrates it in the being, then the light and energy pervades into rest of the organisation. Leadership has to say little, do little and be more.