Embodied Leadership – How to Bring Out the Best in You and Everyone Around You
Does it feel like something is missing from the way dictionaries define leadership – “someone who guides, directs, controls, manages, or supervises a group of people or an organization”? People may comply when they are controlled or managed but it doesn’t create a team environment that fosters a synergy where, as a group, you accomplish greater things than you ever could as individuals.
If that synergy – which brings out the best in yourself and others – is what you’re interested in, then I’d like to introduce you to embodied leadership. It involves the way you speak, the language you use, the way you position your body, the harmony you feel by being fully present, and the calming and reassuring messages you convey to others. Ultimately, it’s about the quality of your presence and your way of being. When you practice embodied leadership you’re able to value, motivate, and bring out the best in yourself and the people around you.
Embodied leadership isn’t something you do – it’s who you are. By learning to connect the mind with the body and soul, and to lead with purpose, you can “lead at a deeper levels of self-awareness, developing your abilities to be the leader you want to be, and achieving what you are committed to achieving,” as stated by Pete Hamill. (He’s the author of Embodied Leadership – The Somatic Approach to Leadership, a book I highly recommend).
Somebody who embodies leadership in all aspects of life has a clear vision for how she wants her life to be – her personal life, her family, her home, and how she want to contribute to helping other people. It will make her a better wife, mother, friend, boss, advocate, or neighbor.
As women, we may tend toward feeling powerless at times and unable to compete in the world of male-dominated leadership. But you don’t need to compete. When you connect authentically with yourself, you can release the most important power any leader can have – not the power to dominate and control – but the power to build authentic relationships and empower others to make things happen. True leadership isn’t about barking out orders, but it’s the ability to sort out the chaos and come up with solutions that keeps the group moving forward.
How do you develop your embodied leadership potential?
Start by being more mindful of your body. For example, a 2010 study showed that open, expansive postures results in actual hormonal and neurochemical changes (testosterone elevates and cortisol, the stress hormone, lessens). And the subjects of the study gained a greater feeling of power and tolerance for risk, whether they were male or female. While contracted, closed postures had the opposite effect.
Becoming more comfortable in your own skin is the first step to embodied leadership. The somatic approach to leadership assists you in centering yourself. It gives you the awareness to see where you hold tension, and teaches you how to release it gently. It gives you the confidence and poise to stand up for what you believe to be true and important, so you can assert yourself without fear. If you’re ready to step into your own power more fully, I’d be happy to guide you. Contact me to learn more. We can work in person if you live near Ashland, Oregon, or via Skype if you live elsewhere.
This is the beginning of a series on Embodied Leadership. You’ll find the next installments below.
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