Embodied Leadership

Embodied Leadership

In today’s fast paced, impatient and often stressful world, Leaders need to find a way of being and leading that liberates people to contribute their unique talents  willingly – thereby giving us all the resources, of all the people, all of the time. During RA’s 20 years as global Leadership Consultants and our combined 100 years practicing and teaching Karate-do, we have learned that there are four energies available to people that, when awakened, can be blended into one incredible force. Not only does this blend offer outstanding high performance, but more importantly, it creates sustainable ‘Healthy High Performance’.

The Ecology of Talent In our work, we have frequently seen this energy go untapped, underused and squandered as we over-manage and under-lead the people in our organisations. We need people to turn up at work complete: Mind, Body and Emotion, so they can get the best from themselves, for themselves, for the business they work in and the family they live in.
Anything less is a waste. We need to think about the Ecology of Talent…with today’s imperative, ‘getting more from less,’ it is more important than ever that we don’t throw way any of our natural resources.

The Four Energy levels
The energy you use at the gym is not the same energy that gets you to go to the gym: the energy you use at the gym is the energy of your muscles. The energy that gets you there is called Motivation. The energy that sustains Motivation is called Passion. The energy that keeps Passion alive is called Inspiration, and this energy can last a life time.
‘Can do’ – the energy of the muscles, comes from the need to earn a living. ‘Will do’ – the energy of motivation, comes from values being fed. ‘Want to’ – the energy of Passion, comes from having and living with a Purpose. ‘Compelled to’ – the energy of Inspiration, comes from being connected to a Vision.
Overly controlling Management engages only the energy of the muscles. This fragmenting of energy prevents individuals putting heart into their work. They become discontent and unfulfilled, saving their higher level energies for activities outside of work.
Leadership allows access to the energy of Motivation, Passion and Inspiration. Leaders liberate themselves and others, to be the best they can be. And just as the techniques of the Karate Master go unnoticed, the new Leader leads without technique: they embody Leadership.

RA’s Embodiment Model Managers can also reduce people effectiveness when they put too much emphasis on ‘Thinking’ (Mind). The questions – what do I want, when do I want it by and what’s my plan are useful, but rarely is any effort put on helping people access the appropriate ‘Feeling’ (Emotion) to underpin the plan. It is also imperative to know how to use my ‘Behaviour’ (Body), including how I use my posture, my breathing and my physical skills in order to get the best from myself and from others.

RA’s model (above) illustrates how these elements come together to create Embodied Leadership: the results – increased authenticity, influence, awareness, confidence and presence.

Knowledge itself will never be enough – understanding that water will quench your thirst does not quench your thirst. Understanding leadership does not make you a leader.

‘In Time’ Leadership

Knowledge must make that exciting journey from mind to muscle to make it truly effective.
The new Leader needs to be in-time with the people, the business and the market. In this fast paced world, on-time is linear and therefore too slow: the bus comes, I get on it and the bus goes. In time is more like an orchestra: different people, different instruments, in time playing together in the moment.
It is our experience that people want to express themselves; they want to be successful and have their energy flow creatively in their lives. And just as a carpenter learns to works with the natural grain of the wood, and the Karate Master learns to blend with the energy of the attacker, the in-time leader also needs to learn to work with the grain, releasing and blending the four human energies and by doing so, touch two of the deepest of human ambitions –to contribute and to be complete.

Colin Reeve

Founder of RA Consultancy


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