international leadership week: the importance of self connection for collaboration - children standing in a circle each holding their own tiny plant

Connection before collaboration: International Leadership Week

It’s International Leadership week, and this year’s theme is #CollaborateForSuccess

Two years ago my partner Antonia and I visited our friends at their regenerative farm in the Cairngorms in Scotland. One afternoon, sheltering from the weather in their homestead, we were discussing one of the aims of regenerative farming which is to reconnect people with the source of their food. Whilst discussed this, Antonia said she felt it was very hard for anyone to connect with anything else if they weren’t connected to themselves. This observation really stood out for me because I think it’s true and can certainly be applied to leadership. If you as a business leader don’t have a strong sense of connection to self, as demonstrated in the way you look after yourself, your values, integrity and priorities, can you be an effective and empathetic leader?

Connection starts with the self

So, this International Leadership Week, I want to highlight the importance of self-connection for successful and meaningful collaboration. Because when we think about connection in all it’s different contexts (to yourself but also to others, nature, animals, causes as well as to meaningful work, purpose and values), it has to begin with us as individuals.

My area of expertise is wellbeing, specifically as part of a high-performance lifestyle. I’ve worked with hundreds of leaders and organisations such as Britvic, JP Morgan, Outward Bound Trust, General Mills, IKEA and England Netball to name just a few. My focus is to start with the health of the leader. Focusing on five categories of wellbeing:

1. Strength

This could be physical or mental, ranging from exercise to strengthen the muscles, bones and the mind, to regularly challenging yourself to build resilience and improve adaptability to change.

2. Health

If I were to ask you what one thing you could reasonably do to improve your general health, what would it be? Mine was to wear a mask on busy roads to reduce my exposure to environmental pollution (I have asthma).

3. Energy

Almost everyone wants more energy. You could get this from improved sleep, more movement snacks throughout the day or reducing processed foods from your diet. Energy comes from one place in the body so we need to use it wisely and replenish where we can.

4. Mood

An important aspect of wellbeing that is often neglected. Mood can be linked to the foods we eat, hydration levels, activity levels, quality of sleep and how much natural light we are exposed to and when. The good news is these are all things we can control.

5. Motivation

Staying focused on your strong motivating factor and having achievable goals is key to staying motivated. Motivation comes from energy + mood so don’t neglect these elements as part of your daily or weekly non-negotiables.

It is my belief that a leader that has solid connections to self is a better leader. And that’s a very big contributor to the nurturing of happy, healthy and resilient teams.

What one thing will you do this International Leadership Week?

For more wellbeing content, follow @leannespencerkeynote on Insta and LinkedIn.

Wellbeing Webinars

Leanne runs a regular roster of free-to-attend wellbeing webinars to help leaders like you get the best out of their people. Looking to increase your team’s stress resilience and improve communication and productivity whilst helping them to beat burnout and have more fun in life and work? Check out what’s coming up! 

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