How to Lead with Ease

Who we are is how we show up.

In the big moments and the little ones; the moments that matter and the moments that slip by unnoticed.

Who are you in each of these moments?

With colleagues and peers? Family and friends? Your nearest and dearest?

Would I recognise the true you in each of these contexts? The thread that is you even as you move between roles and responsibilities?

Do you recognise you… know who the true you is?

It’s hard to stay anchored to who you are in the swirl of chaos and complexity.  And yet it becomes even more critical as we lead ourselves and others through these moments.

MIT professors Edgar Schein and Warren Bennis have found that feeling safe inside ourselves is essential for us to feel secure in our relationships and capable of adapting how we show up in response to shifting contexts, situations and challenges.

This personal psychological safety also needs to be portable so that we know and feel safe within ourselves no matter who we are with, what we are doing, or where we are doing it.

Developing personal portable psychological safety frees you to be less dependent on the opinions and behaviors of others and the environments you are in, because you understand and are grounded in who you are – the true you.

As leaders, at home and at work, there will be times when the uncertain or uncontrollable nature of what is unfolding leaves you feeling unsafe and at risk. Typically, we blame our circumstances (i.e., our culture, processes, policies, technology, workspaces, etc.) or other people for making us feel unsafe. And while that may be the case, having an increased sense of personal portable psychological safety can help us navigate the difficulties with more confidence, clarity and purpose. For while we can’t change other people and we can’t always change our work situations, we can change how we are showing up.

And this is the thing about personal portable psychological safety – it allows us to control the only factor that is ever really within our control – ourselves.

But how can we develop it?

By knowing who you are.

True you.
The you when you have let go of the stories of ‘should have’ and ‘could have’.

The you that shines in your strengths and knows (and loves) your shadows.

The you that is grounded in the knowing of how perfectly imperfect each of us is and that we will keep doing the work to be better.

With the senior leaders I work with (and myself) I’ve found that a Personal Code as a guiding heuristic for life is an effective way to increase personal portable psychological safety over time.

I’ve written before about the value of heuristics in turbulent times, and when it comes to developing personal portable psychological safety, this article about how to develop your Personal Code and how I apply mine could be useful.

Leading in the Decade of Disruption is never going to be easy, but doing it with the personal portable psychological safety that comes with leading from the grounded space of True You, may mean you navigate it with a little more ease.

Until next time…

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