Are You a Resilient Leader?
Adele is from Toronto and is the founder of Adele Wellness, a premium weight loss consultancy for high-performance professionals with demanding lifestyles. She is also a behavioral expert and pattern interrupter that uses a combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Holistic Nutrition to ensure clients achieve sustainable health and wellness goals.
Adele can see people’s blind-spots and all that gets in the way of their ability to accomplish their goals. She's a pattern interrupter and behavioral expert and can help microshift any undesired behaviors over time to create sustainable change. Adele is also a lifelong learner and is now enrolled in her dream program at Harvard University in the Masters of Psychology program. That is after already attaining a B.Sc in Neuropsychology, a certificate in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and a Diploma in Applied Holistic Nutrition.
Just like you need to love yourself first before you can give love to another person, effective leaders need to be able to lead themselves first and foremost, before they can lead a team. This involves being able to manage emotional state, being able to problem solve, follow through, and acknowledge your employees, and having a high level of self-awareness. Our specialty at Adele Wellness is building resilience and self-efficacy amongst leaders and executives.
We use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a modality, especially for bringing about awareness in your life and leadership. CBT is capable of changing habits and behaviours because it rewires our emotional responders to behave differently. With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, we can learn how to respond differently to triggers we’ve been dealing with our entire lives and maybe weren’t even conscious of. These triggers are often revealed in our leadership style.
Reflect for a moment on the way you lead your team or anyone who may view you as a leader. You can begin to shine a light on your beliefs about your leadership style using a tool in CBT called Socratic Questioning.
The Socratic questions below are a tool for cognitive restructuring. They challenge accuracy and absolute ways of thinking. Read these questions and imagine how they may change an absolute thought like, “I’m not an effective leader.”
● What makes you think this thought is true?
● What is the nature of this thought?
● When is your earliest memory of thinking this is true?
● What is another way for you to look at this situation?
How to Focus More on Proactive Problem Solving vs. Reacting
When we start to engage in Socratic questioning, the engagement moves from the back of the brain, our most primal part of the brain which is highly reactionary, to the front of the brain, to the prefrontal cortex, which manages problem-solving. It’s time to develop that muscle and pattern of getting out of the fight or flight part of the brain and into problem-solving mode. Being able to dispel your anxiety at any moment is a tremendous skill for a leader to have and tap into.
Asking Socratic questions is incredibly powerful because they effectively shake up our core beliefs so they start to lose power over how we behave. And, maybe you weren’t even aware you were stuck in this self-deprecating loop. Bringing awareness to your thought patterns in the first step to being able to change them for the better, and stop worrying! Let’s talk about worry for a moment; Worry is a narrative – a stream of thoughts, the conversation in your head. Our worries are based on evidence. We look for evidence to both support and disprove the worry because this worry has served a purpose up until now. However, our brains jump to the worst case scenario. This is our default setting and we begin to catastrophize. We need to train our brains to flip to the other end of the spectrum.
1. Go down the rabbit hole of Best Case Scenario: Most people’s initial best case scenario is actually their probable outcome. We need to exercise and train the brain to think BIGGER. If we allow ourselves to go down the rabbit hole of the worst case, we also need to go down the rabbit hole of the best case.
2. Probable Outcome: This is what’s most likely to happen, which we can tap into after we have gone to both extremes. Being grounded in this defuses the anxiety on the spot. This is an exercise you can use with your employees to avoid burnout. Being worried all of the time is tiring!
Acknowledgement is Powerful
Another large part of being an effective leader is leading with confidence. Confidence in leadership is cultivated by working and creating from a place of integrity. Do you live by your word? Does your team trust you?
There are far more meaningful ways that employees can feel satisfied besides their pay cheques. Do they feel there is room to grow in their careers? Are they being developed? Are they being recognized? Most companies have a long way to go in terms of acknowledgement and recognition. And, recognizing when someone has contributed in a positive way is more important than many leaders realize. Partially because leaders have a hard time receiving acknowledgement themselves. This is a generalization, but many leaders have gotten to where they are by having a “never satisfied” mentality, making it extremely difficult to accept praise.
We assume that people know that they are appreciated, but it never does any harm to show gratitude for someone’s efforts. Imagine a culture where people are acknowledged regularly. People would be more effective, happy, and fulfilled. Letting people step into their own leadership requires a huge amount of trust, but may ultimately lead to contributions and growth in ways you never could have imaged and wouldn’t have been possible without each persons’ unique ideas. Innovation is fostered when people feel confident in sharing their ideas and collaborating with their teams. The best time you can use right now is to think of three ways you can do that right now, before reading on.
And finally, understanding your unique balance, when you’re out of alignment and possibly driving a bit too hard, is a piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked. Self-care is a buzzword these days, but taking care of yourself is imperative for productivity and high performance. Understanding when you need to slow down is a part of self-awareness, and managing your emotional state. It’s also a large part of resiliency in the workplace, keeping a pep in your step and feeling like you can bounce back from anything.
We all have an opportunity to positively impact someone’s life. This is especially true with the people we see and interact with every day. Our values, attitude and behaviours are what impact on our employees and clients.
So What is Your Leadership Style?
I invite you to take a look at your life and leadership style. Reflect upon your day so far and ask yourself:
• Did I show up on time?
• Did I give my best effort?
• Was I respectful to everyone I interacted with?
• Am I over delivering?
Did you answer yes to all of these questions? If not, how can you ask those learning from you to do the same? As a leader, you have the opportunity every day to lead by example. You can use these tools and methods within CBT to change your state, your behaviors and your thought patterns. You can embrace a new style of leadership that, I can guarantee, your team will love as you reap the positive benefits that ensue.