The term alignment is becoming more popular in the leadership space. However, what does this term actually mean?
First, let’s get down to the technical. The definition of alignment from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is ” the proper positioning or state of adjustment of parts in relation to each other.” So what happens when we bring this definition into the context of human existence, interaction and leadership?
When we create alignment in our human existence, we create the proper positioning of all the parts that make us who we are, particularly in relation to each other. This means that we are bringing the components of our mind, heart and soul together.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re in alignment, you actually feel physically free? There is a bounce in your step, an energy in your actions, and a positive tone in your voice that is infectious.
The opposite is true when you’re in misalignment. Feeling misaligned literally feels like that knot in your stomach; a heaviness and dissatisfaction in your gut. This can lead to a lack of engagement, a drop in energy levels, and difficulty seeing the big picture. Simply put, you start to lack purpose.
What causes us to feel misaligned? Commonly we experience this feeling when we have:
- Conflicting values and goals.
- Feeling mistreated and/or unappreciated.
- Feeling unfulfilled.
- Feeling like a failure.
And you probably guessed it – the organization we work for, the people we work with on a daily basis, and the way we feel about our work are some of the biggest influencers of how we feel in each of these areas. And of course, if you are a people leader in your organization, the extent to which you feel aligned affects your employees, so much that if you are misaligned, you will see that your employees will also start to lack enthusiasm, energy and drive.
As a leader, the purpose and vision for your team and its success starts with you. When you are starting to feel like you are just not getting the energy and engagement from your team that you would like, chances are the culprit is a lack of your own alignment and purpose. If this is the case, try these 3 tips:
Hire a coach
Why do you suppose all athletes have a coach? Truly, athletes have a lot of areas they need to bring into alignment to have the best game of their life. Diet, exercise, training, not to mention the right contacts to get onto sports teams, in the right spotlight in the media, and much more. Most of all, athletes need encouragement – someone on the sidelines cheering them on as they work their hardest to achieve their goals.
The same goes for the leaders of today. There is so much leaders need to take into consideration – the needs of their team, their organization’s goals, the goals of other teams that interact with their own, as well as their own personal needs for work/life balance, achieving personal and career goals, and, yes, even spiritual goals. A coach can help you to narrow down your values, goals and aspirations, and will ask you the right questions to give you the momentum to identify what you want to achieve and how. This ultimately brings alignment as all these pieces start to properly line up in relation to each other. For more information on the benefits of hiring a coach, click here.
It is easy to get caught up in the pressures of an extremely busy, technological business environment. There are constant emails to read, people to talk to, expectations to outrun your competition, all while keeping a balanced home and life. And what about keeping fit, exercising, and eating well? How does one keep up?
There is a lot of research out there that supports the powers of expressing gratitude. While you may have 100 unread emails at work, taking the time to be grateful for an inspiring conversation at work with your employee, achieving a goal or milestone, or even keeping the email count to 100 instead of 200 – are all things to be proud of. Take the time to thank yourself and your team for all that you do every day. The emails will be there tomorrow, so be proud of what you have achieved and what gets you excited that keeps you coming back to work the next day.
Remind yourself of the key reasons why you wanted to lead people
Whenever I have asked leaders what is the most rewarding part of being a people manager, I hear the same consistent response: Leaders love seeing their people develop, flourish, achieve their career goals, and be happy and engaged employees.
This is why you went into leadership. This is why you wanted to manage people.
Remind yourself this every day. Are you making a difference for another employee, teammate, or leader? Are you spending the time to coach, develop, and help others in their career journeys? Chances are that if you are focusing on and recognizing that you are doing these things, your value system will be in alignment with your actions. On the other hand, if you’re getting caught up in the day-to-day management and “doing” of the job, and not spending enough time engaging with the people – you will feel a misalignment because your actions will not be matching up with your beliefs, values and desires. Take the time every week to reflect back on your week and ask yourself:
Do I know my people?
Did I help anyone this week?
What left me feeling energized this week?
Regular reflection in these areas will be sure to point out where you want to focus your time and energy so that your actions start to line up more accurately with your values and career goals.
What are you doing as a leader to create alignment in your professional and personal life? Drop your comments below and be sure to click on the button below to find out how Rubiks Coaching can help you: