This month in Community Voices faculty member Maria Mercedes Galvez teaches us how to breathe our way into a more successful leadership.
A New Leadership: Conscious Leadership
They are not rumors, they are loud and clear figures reflected in the latest studies on leadership, in which it is evident that 86% of organizations or social systems declare that one of their three greatest challenges has to do with leadership.
Leaders need to develop new skills to inspire, set an example, empower, align and develop change.
It is increasingly common to speak of a leader with awareness of the environment, trends and also their emotions, the cause and effect of their actions, what generates their own behavior in others. Not only aware of the value they bring but also of their own limitations, where they do not add value and when it is better for them not to be there. Aware of the importance of asking for help, of the innovation and creativity that arises from delegating…
To manufacture the results we desire depends, by a large part, on the quality of relationships we have and our awareness of how and what we talk about at all times. The leader who has impressive results is one who is aware of the needs, expectations and emotions of the people he/she leads and also of his/her own, since he/she is aware of her/himself, his/her vision, mission, strengths, weaknesses and priorities.
What prevents most leaders from doing what they have to do? Mainly, not thinking, or what is known as a reaction trap. It is a natural process that affects the majority of leaders in a kind of fight or flight reaction. Instead of focusing on the big picture, people react to all kinds of ‘distractions’, such as phone calls, emails, meetings, the list of daily tasks and other similar interruptions.
These reactions are activated by the lowest and most primitive part of the brain, hiding from the mind the ability to have an overview of things.
Breathing plays a primary role in breaking this reaction cycle and achieving a higher state of consciousness. Most of us spend much of our lives without being consciously aware of our breath. Conscious breathing exercises the part of the brain that nourishes creativity, allowing people to become aware of their entire being: the mind and the body.
When we reach a higher level of consciousness, people can transcend the reaction trap and begin to focus on what is really important: generating results. Doing so involves making conscious choices, setting limits and slowing down enough to manage priorities and think about decisions.
How do we do that?
As we mentioned before, it is all about breathing. Whenever you have time, for example before a meeting, try this exercise to improve your senses. First stand up, close your eyes and relax. Inhale and count to four, then exhale and count to eight. Repeat this practice several times and observe the sensations that occur in your body.
The technique will help you feel more relaxed, focused and conscious. It allows you to face unexpected situations better, with more calm and clarity than ever. Practice this attentive breathing technique enough and it will become natural for you.