“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” – Brene Brown
Writing this piece is not easy. The doom portrayed by global media on the Covid-19 pandemic together with the severe reality that has gripped our world and country, has resulted in a substantially different future emerging. How are you coping and growing as a leader in response to these unprecedented times?
Eighteen months ago, my fascination for a particular approach to psychology was roused. I decided to further my studies in Gestalt psychology with application to organisations through my work. The essence of Gestalt is the pursuit of wholeness and completeness in life. The preeminent works of Fritz Perls and Kurt Lewin formed the basis of this approach with application to organisational life, and leadership.
Gestalt Leadership Wisdoms
- Leaders are mindful of themselves, others and the environment
- Leaders understand context and lead broadly
- Leadership is relational and leadership development takes place in relationship
- Heightened awareness is the catalyst for change
- Understanding that change is constant and the essential context of leadership
- The intentional actions of a leader create a ripple effect on different parts of organisations and outcomes can be unintended too
- Leaders notice differing energies in the organisational structures and attend differently to these energies
- Leaders are agile, resilient and perpetual lifelong learners
*** adapted from the ‘iGold Journal – Alumni Edition’ – Mary Ann Rainey and Jonno Hanafin
The Gestalt approach can be summarised in the following flow: In any particular situation one is faced with, we will experience sensation and then awareness of something. Once we are in an awareness state, we will start to have energy to act in response to the sensation and awareness. Using the energy, we confront and make contact with the challenge and then something happens. We then reflect on what happened and close the experience by withdrawing from the situation. The completeness of this flow of energy, allows us to move on. When closure does not happen, we experience unfinished pieces of the experience and we always remember and hold onto this unfinished business more than those things that are whole and complete. This is called the Zeigarnik effect (Bluma Zeigarnik, 1927).
If we now apply this approach to any situations in the world and organisations we lead, some very interesting opportunities arise to flex our leadership styles and ways of being.
Being stuck in the data and numbers was what we were socialised to do as generally financial-oriented leaders. Our ability to remain grounded in sensation and awareness will serve our organisations better if we slow down and understanding what is happening with our own state and those of others and our environment. With full awareness of the data that is provided, combined with our risk based quantitative metrics, our ability to be intentional in our actions and decision making and go with the informed ‘energy’ will yield surprising results. Translated into an example we understand, we must lead fully and intentionally with our head, heart and intuition.
When we are leadership congruent as a human in the workplace (or at home now), using a Gestalt approach, our personal presence is elevated. This provides greater comfort and trust for those that we lead, as we display authentic behaviours and don’t project presupposed leadership ‘masks.’ Our ability to connect as humans increases and our collective ability to weather the storms ahead as global citizens will be enhanced.
The history of the world is forever changed, through this modern health pandemic, and the silver lining of growth opportunities will be our collective awareness and resulting humanity. We have reset for an intriguing and curiously different future. Welcome Global Planet 2.0
And so how exactly can you embark on this new development journey right now?
In line with our Gestalt principles, we will apply this development frame using online coaching through our Meaningful Coaching Conversations series. Our bespoke coaching sessions aim to start you on this new journey, with emphasis on what matters for you right now. This could include any number of dimensions that we are noticing from our raised awareness. Pertinent topics include:
- How to build your capability to Lead Virtually
- Creating Psychological Safety for your teams and people
- Assisting people to co-create boundaries and implement Strategies to transition to home and remote working
- Assisting people simply to make sense of ‘what is’ and the challenges of remaining focused, productive and growing exponentially during this time and deepening relationships
Should you be interested in this opportunity for your own personal development or your team or organisation, please feel free to reach out. We would love to partner with you, in this anxious time of enlightened possibility. Together we can all grow and benefit from these experiential moments in time.
Please reach out to us via
Mobile +27 83 309 0442
Stay safe and be healthy. Most of all, remain positive that all will be well and balance will be restored.