In this series of articles, I introduce the concept of self-empowerment. The concept comes from the book “Self-Empowered Leadership”, which I wrote together with Jens Bergstein and Felicitas Ritter. At its core, self-empowerment means to be in the driver’s seat: You decide pro-actively who you are as a leader and how you relate to critical leadership situations. In short: Get out of the hamster wheel! Part 1 deals with the two basic states of leadership.
STATE 1: PASSION FOR LEADERSHIP
What do many formidable leaders have in common? They inspire us with their desire to lead. How can their desire to lead be recognizable? The fact that, on the one hand, they lead independently in their own respective ways and, on the other hand, in a way that suits the situation. Enjoying one’s own independence whilst also responding to the demands of the leadership situation is inherently important! We all have the choice of what type of leader we want to be and what leadership behavior we choose to display: We decide for ourselves whether we are independent or adapted, empathetic or intellectual, giving freedom or setting rules. So, make your leadership decisions so that you have a desire to lead by “empowering” yourself.
What is leadership? Leadership means that you have the independence to shape your everyday life, and you can decide again and again how to behave in certain situations. These can be important project meetings, creative sessions, or employee appraisals. Leadership does not mean that there is no resistance or challenges. Rather, you work with the challenges and find answers in a seemingly playful way:
- You have a clear understanding of the leadership requirements in your current situation (external)
- You know who you are as a leader and what is important to you in your leadership
- You are mentally fit and find creative solutions (head)
- You have the full range of your emotions at your disposal and embody your values (body)
- You react quickly and flexibly to your leadership challenges (hand)
The opposite of this state is your autopilot, which uses behavioral patterns from the past and therefore may lead to leadership frustration within yourself.
STATE 2: LEADERSHIP FRUSTRATION
Many leaders have the feeling that they are chasing the growing demands of their superiors, customers, employees, and investors. Instead of shaping one’s own leadership situations, the only option is often to react and blatantly work through tasks. Our automatic reaction is to blame our environment for this. A first step is to look closely and ‘feel’ our frustration. We can then be honest with ourselves and realize that we are in our autopilot, for which we ourselves are responsible. Instead of acting with authentic leadership behavior, we display subconscious patterns, follow cherished routines, and experience leadership frustration. We then allow ourselves to be tempted again and again by similar triggers to stress reactions and therefore view ourselves as victims. Examples of leadership frustration include:
- You are afraid of failure or negative reviews from others.
- You experience negative thought spirals repeatedly.
- You have a tendency to excessively distrust your employees.
Your body’s alarm signals:
- You no longer perceive your emotions – neither positive nor negative.
- Your breathing is shallow, and you feel physical tension.
- You feel low on energy and long for doing nothing.
- You don’t move much, and you don’t challenge yourself.
- You follow an unhealthy diet, even though you know better.
- You tend to overcontrol your employees.
It doesn’t have to be this way – get your energy and independence back now. It’s worth it!
The second part of the series of articles deals with the basics and the levers for self-empowerment or self-empowered leadership. You can find even more information about self-empowerment here: www.sel-workbook.de.