Leadership – why perspective matters, and keeping it fresh
It’s so hard as leaders to get off the treadmill. The speed of work and leadership today requires us to always be ‘on’.
As leaders, keeping our authentic and distinctive Perspective is so important to motivating ourselves and those in our organisation. That Perspective can be about ourselves, our colleagues, our organisation, or our wider domain or sector.
Increasingly employees – especially those earlier into the workforce – want to know our Perspective to feel connected, engaged and motivated at work.
CEOs and senior leaders must develop a powerful Perspective Statement and communicate that intentionally with their teams to build alignment and boost engagement.
The challenge is that we can often get caught in a bind as a leader. The harder we drive ourselves, the more likely we lose the Perspective our employees crave – and that leads to feeling less motivated ourselves as leaders.
We are so busy on the ‘what’, we forget the ‘who’ and most of all the ‘why’. This can result in a depletion in motivation both in ourselves and in those around us.
Here are three tips on how to keep your perspective fresh and stay motivated.
1. Broaden your influences
Leave the business book for one on society or politics. Read about the history of the domain you are working in, or the biographies of those who have gone before you. These will all help you get a broader perspective on issues in your field. If you do not have the time to read, listen to podcasts while commuting.
2. Build intentional time for generative thinking
Figure out the hour you are most productive in the day and try to block. Protect it from emails or meetings. Use this as your Generative hour – to create something. Think about your company’s deeper purpose, a new business area that has always intrigued you, or how you want to spend your own time as a leader in the next five to 10 years. Write down what comes up in a journal you regularly revisit. Some leaders use whole Reflective weeks, but many find half an hour to an hour a day is a great small, self-reinforcing small step. And of course, that habit can then compound.
3. Be fully ‘in the moment’ for your team
Switch off emails or other distractions and be fully present. You can and will learn so much from your team’s perspective. Try to listen fully and ask them questions – follow your curiosity. They are often so much closer to the ground, and the reality, than you are. If you take on their views in your own Perspective, let them know that and thank them. That will make them ever more excited to share things with you. This is also not a bad practice to follow in our personal lives, as partners or parents.
As leaders we end up running fast on the treadmill, with little space to reflect on what our real direction should be but making efforts to keep our perspective fresh will help us be fully alive as leaders – for ourselves and the people we lead.
About Sharath Jeevan OBE
Sharath is a world-leading expert on Intrinsic Leadership & Motivation, and the Founder & Executive Chairman of Intrinsic Labs. Supporting organisations and leaders all around the world to solve deep motivational challenges, Sharath has worked with governments, leading universities and high-profile corporations, from L'Oreal to the London School of Economics. He is the author of ground-breaking book "Intrinsic" and was awarded an OBE in the 2022 Queen's New Year's Honours for founding and leading STiR Education, arguably the world's largest intrinsic motivation initiative.