Being the CEO of Insights has brought many things into my life – a brilliant mixture of opportunities I’ve grabbed with both hands, challenges I’ve grappled with, and new ways of thinking about life, work, and connection in the 21st century workplace. This has been both developmental and transformational. There is nothing more I enjoy than conversations with our team on emerging strategies and developing new processes. However, what being a leader at Insights is teaching me right now is the life lesson of balance.
We all need to find our balance in life; that’s one of the reasons every Insights employee has added a wellbeing goal to their annual priorities. That could mean walking, learning to play a musical instrument, or committing to finding time for more personal development. I’ve chosen to walk for an hour each day, and while this has certainly increased my step-count, it’s also given me space and time to think about the big picture of leadership. In fact, it’s helping me consider how I find the balance between my own personal journey, and the growth of the global Insights community.
Being a successful leader is dependent on being highly self-aware. Self-aware leaders understand their strengths, their weaknesses, and how they are experienced by those around them. Through their self-aware lens they know what their workplace preferences are – how they prefer to communicate, inspire, and manage. For example, effective leaders are also agile enough to flex their style to suit those around them, in order to inspire every person to give their very best.
For leaders, the journey towards self-awareness is never complete; there is always more we can learn about ourselves, and every new challenge will reveal a little more of our innate selves. Like Michelle Obama was recently quoted as saying,
Becoming who we are is an ongoing process and thank God – because where’s the fun in waking up one day and deciding there’s nowhere left to go?
Even as we head along the long path of self-awareness, there will be stops and starts and disappointment, moments where we fail and times where, in a split second, we make the wrong choice or take the wrong path. That’s ok – humans make human mistakes, and I certainly count myself among the fallible!
Knowing this, it’s right that we, as leaders, put energy into our own development, in order that we model strong relationships and know how to operate at our best during tricky times and in challenging circumstances. It’s an internal journey.
How best to balance that with the external demands of leadership? It’s my firm belief that one of the most important things a leader can do is stop thinking of their organisation as a collection of people with the requisite skills, interests, and experience. Instead, start seeing it for what it really is – a diverse community of people brought together by a strong purpose, with a shared vision and jam packed with great ideas and creativity.
That’s how I see Insights – as a growing and global community that blows me away, every day, with what it achieves through our sheer passion and belief that we can change the world, one relationship at a time. I’m most inspired when someone in our community comes up with a great idea, runs with it, and turns it into something amazing – and it’s a measure of how strong our community is that this happens with fantastic regularity.
Holding this belief, drawing together this community is critical – and it takes a lot of commitment from me and the senior leaders in our business. It means communicating with people on their own terms in the places where they are; it means knowing the details of peoples lives and never being too busy to stop in the corridor and ask how their daughter’s first day at school went. Inspiring leaders at Insights understand the importance of relationships and are emphatic listeners and alert to changes affecting the organisations climate.
I am passionate about getting it right for our people and community. This is especially true for when we are going through such transformational change. I know that if I manage my own balance well, I will be much better equipped to lead and inspire in a way that positively impacts our Insights family.
I find my wellbeing in my sense of balance. So, as we move into the time of year where we celebrate our worldwide community, beginning with Shout Out and moving on to Insights Live in October and November, I’ll be there to hear all of your stories, questions, suggestions, and do what I can to knit our community together a little closer.