Message from Julie: Leadership Lessons From My Yoga Mat – Strength, Flexibility & Balance

message from julie: leadership lessons from my yoga mat – strength, flexibility & balance 1

One of my favorite pastimes is finding leadership lessons outside the business world. Take for instance the Leadership Lessons My Cat Re-Taught Me. Bilbo crossed the Rainbow Bridge several years ago but his leadership lessons live on.   

I know this is a somewhat unusual pastime (you might even call it weird) but I am passionate about leadership and the positive impact that effective leaders have on both the organization they work for and those they leadas well as the negative impact of ineffective leaders. I know because I have lived through both and you probably have too. 

The past couple of years I have been practicing Yoga at The Mat Yoga Studio. (If you are looking for a yoga home I highly recommend them. Even if you don’t live in the area they offer a robust program of live virtual classes.) I got back into yoga after a long hiatus to increase my physical strengthflexibility, and balance. 

As I and the leaders I work with have cleared a path through 2020 (there certainly hasn’t been a road to follow), it has become increasingly clear that not only are strength, flexibility, and balance important to maintaining a healthy body. They are critical mental attributes for leaders who want to build healthy teams, especially in the current environment. 

Too often though as leaders, I believe we overvalue strength while undervaluing flexibility and balance. And that’s a mistake. Here’s why. If we have strength without flexibility we will break under stress. The strongest trees are those most likely to be toppled by a heavy wind. Buildings and bridges are built to move slightly (or flex) during storms. As leader if you exert strength without flexibility not only does it cause excess stress to you. It creates a stressful culture for those you lead. 

On the other hand, flexibility without strength leads to total collapse. Consider the fate of structures without strong supporting framework during hurricanesWhen leaders are flexible without the support of a strong framework of purpose, vision, and values it leads to a lack of consistency. Team members don’t know what to expect or where to focus. The culture becomes chaotic and unpredictable. Engagement and ultimately productivity suffer. 

As with so much of life, it is about balance and integration. As leaders it is incumbent on us to simultaneously develop and balance strength and flexibility. Not an easy task for sure. But leading, isn’t easy. It is however, I believe, worth the effort.  

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Julie Chance

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