Improving Your Team, But First You

As I wake up each morning and start my day around the 5am hour, the house is dark, kids are sleeping, the sun is starting to peek out. I tiptoe into the kitchen and get my coffee going with prayers that the coffee machine doesn't wake the kids. I settle into my office area and feed my mind to begin the day, sipping on the freshly brewed cup of coffee.


"What are you doing at 5am?" is a question I often get asked. I know, I used to think it was crazy too. But what I have learned about myself is that if I invest in my quiet time, my day goes a lot smoother, less chaotic. I am grounded and more enjoyable to be around. Just ask my kids :) With kids at the prime age to start activities, they are busy. Evenings and weekends are filled with sporting events and fun play time. Quiet time for me is very hard to come by. What I have learned about myself is that my mornings and daily routines at that time set the tone for the day.


So what am I doing at that hour? Most days I split between journaling, reading and meditating (also a new practice for me over the past several years), or just quiet time. I like to feed my mind with positive inspiration to get my day going. Some of my best ideas are those when I least expect them - often during the quiet hours of the morning.

As I've indicated in prior articles, over the past several years I have made some shifts in my career to align with my values, my passion and desire to make a difference. It's been a significant move for me that’s allowed me more energy with my kids and the awareness to do more self-discovery, along with make a lasting impact on individuals and organizations. It's helping to create the person I want to become.


Shifting my habits (or systems) for me empowered me to take steps and leaps. It's opened me up to new self-discovery. It's made me step back and evaluate where my time was being spent, and if it was productive and aligned or not. Journaling wasn't my favorite thing to do at first. What do I write about? Nothing seemed to make sense. Until I realized the release it provided me and opened me up to new things. It released the stress and pressure and allowed the energy flow where I needed it to. Writing one paragraph turned into one page, turned into pages and a daily routine.


So as James Cleary challenges us in Atomic Habits, reflect on who the type of person is that you want to become? If you want to be fit, that type of person probably doesn't miss work outs. It's not the goal of weight loss but creating that lifestyle and foster the behaviors that align with that lifestyle.



The article this morning was "To Improve Your Team, First Work on Yourself" from the Harvard Business Review. This couldn't be more fitting as I sit back and reflect. Some of the questions they asked in the article...What could I have done differently to make it more successful? Was I truly digging deep into myself to understand what different role I could have played to either react differently or cause a different outcome?


As leaders our role is to reflect on that - not to point fingers but to look inside to understand what our part in the conversation/meeting/controversy is. Many times we have things engrained in us from past experience that cause natural reactions or behaviors to come up - sometimes without us knowing.

As the article indicates, there are three foundational capabilities that perpetuate meaningful and sustainable changes in complex teams.

  • Internal self-awareness: Understanding your feelings, beliefs and values - your inner narrative.

  • External self-awareness: Understanding how our words and actions impact others

  • Personal Accountability: Typically, this is holding others accountable, in this article it's referencing holding ourselves accountable!

So as you think about perhaps an example for yourself, here are some questions to ponder:

  • What is the type of person you wish to become?

  • What habits are you putting in place to help you get there?

  • What is one thing you can try different during the next interaction to see if you get a different outcome?

  • What do you need to learn about that other person that might help your relationship with that person?

All of these questions lead to the heart/core of relationships. It does all start with each of us - we have to be aware of our own patterns and 100% IN to solve the conflict when it arises. If we aren't taking that responsibility or open to resolving, the patterns will continue for years to come.

Cheers to learning and growing, and digging DEEP into ourselves to unravel what is and be excited about what's to come.

Resources:

Harvard Business Review Article - To Improve Your Team, Work on Yourself

Peel the Onion workshop - Free 30-minute workshop to build more self-awareness. Sign up for an upcoming session.