Leadership Challenges

Leadership challenges and the one thing traditional leadership models do not address.

If you’re struggling to keep your team working the way you envision them to despite knowing all of the leadership tips and techniques, read on because those models do not address the fact that you are working with a whole room or workshop full of nervous systems.

Now, you might not even know what that is but whether you know it or not, you’re dealing with it every day. You’ve probably heard of the flight/flight/freeze states and these are all thanks to our nervous system. And it is ‘thanks’ because it’s what’s kept us alive for millions of year. If we perceive a threat, our body responds accordingly and this is very clever.

But notice I said ‘perceive’. Our nervous system has been designed to deal with a life or death threatening situation right in front of us, eg a bushfire or a bear. These days however, we perceive threats that may not even exist in the moment. Our amazing human brains, being what they are, go into the future and imagine possible scenarios: “I’m not earning enough and won’t be able to pay my bills”, (I’m gonna die), “My boss is going to fire me”, (I won’t earn any money and therefore I’m gonna die), “I’m splitting up with my partner”, (my safety network is changing, I’m gonna die). Most of us are living in survival mode all the time.

Once you start to understand how our nervous system works, how it can be in a state of survival or in a state of safety, you can begin to include this in how you lead and interact with your people; how you communicate with them, how you make requests of them and how you view their actions and behaviours. This knowledge is so powerful and it’s how you can begin to create the desired environment in your workplace. 

Next time you notice someone on your team struggling or not performing, take a moment to wonder if they are in a survival state.

If you have a passion for good leadership but you’re beginning to see that the traditional methods are missing some key elements that you can’t put your finger on , consider that it might be time for a new style of leadership. One that understands how to bring people into connection and community and embraces their humanity on all three levels: the mind, body and spirit.