One of the most popular subjects taught in business schools is leadership theory. For new and seasoned leaders alike, the lure of logical, well-documented, ‘packaged’ models is irresistible. I can think of few who would refuse a roadmap to smooth the ride and propel them forward.
However, while important to know, leadership theory will not actually help you ‘do’ leadership. Once the classroom is exchanged for the boardroom, the theories that seemed so slick in class can be clumsy and cumbersome to use.
Leadership is about people.
Not theories and models. People.
People are feeling, emotional, bundles of energy who can achieve the unachievable, perform miracles, and bring about enormous, positive change in society. But only when conditions permit. People need a purpose. People need to feel connected to their work. Their hearts have to be in the game to a far greater extent than their heads.
It makes sense, therefore, that you lead with your heart. Not your head.
When leadership is over-intellectualized, the head takes over what should be a heart-centered activity.
When leaders rationalize and theorize, they miss intuitive and energetic cues. They miss opportunities to channel individual and collective energy, and instead they try to govern and control. They miss opportunities for incremental actions and instead breed anxiety and confusion by focusing too far into the future. They miss opportunities to learn and instead feel the need to teach. They forget to be humble and instead believe they need to be right.
With a Fortune 500 leadership career spanning more than two decades, I made all those mistakes. Until I learned to trust my inner wisdom.
With the benefit of hindsight and insight, I developed a deep appreciation of the power and energy that comes from trusting intuition and heart. And it was this appreciation that led me to a successful leadership career and eventually, to Reiki.
Reiki has the power to release your potential from the confines of your mind. It is a tool to increase awareness, insight, wisdom, and personal growth. Reiki requires that we look within ourselves to know what is right. And Reiki teachings offer valuable lessons for new and seasoned leaders alike.
To develop your ability to lead by tuning into your inner wisdom, use these five Reiki principles to guide you.
Principle 1: Just for today I will not worry.
Put another way, just for today I will not fear the future.
Worry is simply the fear of what has not yet happened. Fear and worry cloud the mind, inhibit action and cause paralysis. Which in turn leads to more fear.
Action is the antidote to fear.
Define your purpose, set your intention, and bring yourself and your team into the present. Focus on what action – no matter how small – can be taken today to bring you closer to your purpose. And celebrate every step. Those small actions are both incremental and cumulative. With action comes energy. And from energy comes achievement.
Principle 2: Just for today, I will not be angry.
Anger is usually the result of feeling a lack of power.
It is an emotional response.
Where you witness anger, respond with a genuine desire to learn. Uncover the root cause and work through it. Take time to question, understand, and resolve. Avoid the temptation to control and direct and instead, listen, question, and explore.
Anger is your cue to learn more about yourself and your team. Embrace it.
Principle 3: Just for today, I will work honestly.
There is a world of difference between dishonesty and not being honest.
Dishonesty usually comes from a place of mal-intent.
Not being honest – commonly known as ‘holding back’ – is often well-intended but leads to feelings of dissatisfaction, lack of fulfillment, and frustration.
Energetically, the effect is the same in both scenarios.
Care enough to give tough feedback to your team members; it will help you and them to grow. When you share something uncomfortable for you to say and uncomfortable for them to hear, you build trust.
Be true to your values and never compromise them. Not for any reason.
Lead with purpose. Doing work for the greater good is fertile ground for positive energy.
Accept your imperfections. And accept those of others. Foster a ‘practice makes better’ rather than a ‘practice makes perfect’ culture. Perfection can never be achieved.
State your expectations clearly and concisely. And ask your team for theirs.
Honesty is courageous.
Be true to yourself. Honor your dreams, your desires, and your talents. And do the same for your team. This is the honest way to lead.
Principle 4: Just for today, I will give thanks.
Park your ego and be humble. Be vulnerable. Say thank you. Appreciate the talent in your team.
When I was appointed to my first executive leadership role, my father shared these wise words. He said, “Tina, congratulations. I’m proud of you. Now, let me ask you this. If you leave the company tomorrow, how long do you think it will take before people notice?” Though I hoped it would have taken longer, I replied honestly and said, “At least a month.”He said, “Try two.” He then asked, “How long do you think it will take before people notice the janitor has left the company?” I replied, “Around thirty minutes.” “Yes”, he said. “Always be thankful for the people who give you the lift to fly to your corner office.”
I’ve never forgotten that lesson.
Be thankful. Be humble. Be vulnerable.
Principle 5: Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing.
Have you noticed that when you do good things, good things come to you?
Kindness and consideration are free. Yet they bring far more value than any blockbuster marketing budget ever will. Simply, kindness and consideration create positive, free-flowing energy that benefits you, your team, your organization, and society as a whole.
Imagine an organization where people share ideas freely. They help each other and look out for one another. Such kindness and consideration leave no room for internal competition. Such behavior fosters momentum toward a common cause. Without any effort at all, that organization will outshine organizations that focus solely on shareholder value and fierce, internal competition.
To be successful, you must first be kind.
Reiki has a role in the workplace.
Despite working in highly competitive markets, the most effective leaders are the ones who channel the collective energy of their team to do good.
Over time, we’ve lost the connection with our energy and our spirit. Today, we look outside ourselves for positivity, energy, and reinforcement. But the truth is always on the inside.
You already have everything you need to lead. Be brave and trust your inner wisdom. Channel the collective energy of your team. Listen, learn, and be kind. Be humble and vulnerable. And always lead with your heart.
Tina Cantrill RN, MBA, CPC
Tina Cantrill is a coach and trainer for burned out healthcare professionals. She teaches them how to lead, and how to take care of themselves first, so that they can love their work again.