A leader is faced with multiple situations, decisions to make, and people to consider on a daily basis. Through the chaos of leadership it is crucial that leaders learn and practice being still. Being still allows for clarity of mind, understanding, the opportunity to think before acting. Being still can take on many forms, and those forms depend on each individual. The important part is that leaders take time to pause and be still.
Being still forces someone to think before they act. This is a vital characteristic when in leadership. When employees, patrons, customers, or higher up leadership shares frustrations, concerns, questions, or whatever, instead of giving an immediate response based on emotions and feelings, the power of being still allows for leaders to think through the decision making process. What is the best response that can be given in a highly emotional situation? Decisions made on emotions and feelings tend to lead to rifts in relationships, shortcuts, and negative outcomes for organizations. Being still, thinking through decisions allows for a more logical and well thought out response. It allows for relationships to be mended, progress to be made, and the overall health of the organization to flourish.
Being still allows leaders to put the focus on the most important part of any organization; those that make up said organization. David Novak, cofounder, retired chairman, and CEO of Yum! Brands, stated in his book Taking People With You, “Who you choose to recognize has a real effect; it differentiates people, motivates them, and shows those who didn’t get recognized what it takes to get ahead.” Decisions made on the whim can give a bad impression and set a negative precedence for the organization. Being still allows for leadership to truly consider what is most important for the organization, what is wanted from those they lead, and how to best support individuals in the organization. Afterall, leadership should be about serving those you lead and helping them reach their full potential.
One of the most important aspects of being still is focus on self awareness and provides time for mental and emotional health. Leaders who do not take care of themselves cannot take care of those they lead. With the pressures of leadership constantly bombarding leaders, maintaining positive mental and emotional health is crucial. There are a myriad of health concerns that can happen when leaders do not take the time to take care of their own mental health. If leaders do not take the time to be still and take care of themselves, then they will fail at taking care of those they lead.
Before you make a critical decision, before you give a response in a heated discussion, before you lose yourself in your work, step back and learn to be still. Lead with purpose and care. Don’t allow the rush and pressure of leadership force you to make a potential decision that will hurt the organization, those you lead, or most importantly yourself.