June 26

Are you playing the blame game?


Lead Into the Future Today (LIFT) is brought to you by Louise Mowbray of Mowbray by Design, the creative Conscious Leadership Consultancy. If you’re reading this and haven’t yet subscribed, you can do so here:

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Three Q’s worth asking ourselves…

This week, as we all navigate leading through a pandemic, I have three questions for you. Questions I’m asking myself, asking my clients and hearing the business community pondering. Enquiries that take us out of the realms of being ‘productivity machines’, needing to ‘motivate ourselves’ and find the ‘hustle, grit and grind’ to survive.

Q’s that are so elegant in their simplicity, we might rush by and not notice them at all. And yet, they present the greatest opportunity for us to lean into our fears and the challenges we are all facing right now.

1. Are you playing the blame game?

When we are right and we make the ‘other’ wrong, we get a hit of dopamine, which is why it’s so addictive. If you find yourself in a constant cycle of blame, which is so easy to do (pick any government, leader, system or polarised FB friend), just know that you are looking for a hit of dopamine and there are far healthier ways of getting it! If you’d like to understand more about the neuroscience behind this, Judith Glaser’s book Conversational Intelligence, How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results is really worth reading. Or go to her HBR article: Your Brain Is Hooked on Being Right.

When we understand that our belief systems, the words we use, how we think and the actions we take affect our brain chemistry, which affects how we feel, we start to make different choices for ourselves.

We build our emotional resilience, which is the powerful, personal foundation we all need to carry us through the coming months and years.

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2. Do you need to motivate yourself or are you inspired to act?

There is a vast chasm between constantly needing to motivate ourselves to get the job done and being inspired to act.

The first robs us of our energy. We need to steel ourselves, muster our strength, dig into our reserves and rely on grit. It leaves us exhausted, disheartened and depleted, needing to retreat to find the energy to do it all over again.

The second, inspiration, gives us wings. There is a magical thought, an idea, an insight that arrives and we act from a place of vast possibility, big-picture thinking, alignment, energy and courage. It fuels, elevates and powers us into seemingly effortless action where space and time lose meaning. We are left enthused and uplifted, which is wonderfully contagious. 

This is where the magic happens. It is here that creativity and innovative thought and action live – vital if we are to find better, smarter ways forward.

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3. Are you leading from an outdated operating system?

A good friend and colleague Gina Hayden, author of Becoming a Conscious Leader, How To Lead Successfully In A World That’s Waking Up, describes conscious leadership as a fresh new operating system. When it comes to developing ourselves as leaders, there’s little point in adding shiny new apps to an old operating system – they simply won’t work as well as they should do.

No doubt, you’re hearing more about collaborative, empathetic, conscious leadership and business. We’re exploring and taking vital action around connectivity, diversity, equality and inclusion, mental health, our relationships with the environment and society, driving conscious change and the vast possibilities available to us when we think and act systemically.

All of this asks us to get out of the sole domain of the intellect and connect to our hearts. To bring our whole, vulnerable, messy human selves to the table and to deeply acknowledge and respect the same in the other.

If we’ve learned anything over the last five months or so, we know that leaders don’t have all the answers. It’s just not possible and our thinking around leadership needs to change.

Instead of being “thought-leaders”, we’re being asked to step up and be “thought-partners” to our peers, the people in our businesses and all of our stakeholders.

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Three simple enquiries for us all to explore without judgement or recrimination. If these resonate and you’re inspired to take action for yourself and your team, please do get in touch. All good things start with a conversation.

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Until next time, take good care of yourself.

Best, Louise



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