We might think that slowing down is a fantasy, something we daydream about. We say we want to slow down, yet stick to our frantic schedules because we are afraid of missing something, getting behind and losing ground. Even more deeply, we might be afraid to hear ourselves — our voice, our heart, our truth. If we stopped to listen, we might not like what we hear. In spite of this resistance, here are the top 5 reason leaders slow down – even when there’s no time.
Top 5 Reasons Leaders Slow Down
- Access creativity. In the Huffington Post offices there are sleep rooms. These “pods” are available to all employees so they can rejuvenate. They know that this is essential to creativity.
- Make long-lasting decisions. On one hand, we don’t need to overthink a decision. Our first instinct is often right, and making quick choices is one of the bullets in Seth Godin’s blog about going fast. However, if we are overwhelmed and overworked because we don’t have a regular practice of slowing down, our instincts might be off. When you take the time to slow down, take care of yourself and hone your instincts, then a fast decision might also be a long-lasting one. However, if you are off-balance, you might want to pause and reflect first.
- Be flexible. Good leaders have range. They can unhook, reflect and thoughtfully assess a situation. They can engage and act decisively in a crisis. They can bring in humor when it’s needed. They can have a determined focus when necessary. It’s not healthy or sustainable for any leader to being moving at a fast-pace all the time, and there are real opportunities to be missed along the way.
- Listen. It’s hard to listen on the fly. We are all guilty of being on an important call (with either a colleague or a loved one) while finishing that last email or reviewing a report. Face it, we are not listening 100% when we do that. Great leadership of others includes being a great listener. This means slowing down to be present and connected to what the other person is really communicating.
- Embrace living (instead of surviving). When we are in motion for too long, we start to feel victimized by our To Do Lists and begin to bring a survival mindset to what we have to do. When we slow down and choose our next priorities, we feel aware, present and alive. This makes life — no matter what the pace — more fulfilling.