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How do you stay balanced as a leader? The…
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Jesse Segers

How do you stay balanced as a leader? The importance of reflection and introspection.

In an earlier article in the newspaper De Morgen, Jesse Segers called CEOs to the yoga mat. To avoid the negative effects of power, he said, introspection is necessary. You have to build in moments when you as a leader can distance yourself from your work and reflect on your power and position. In the podcast "The Leader's Story", he explains why he personally values introspection and the ways he seeks it.
by Antwerp Management School | February 28, 2017
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Jesse Segers

We all have an ego, we live in complex environments and as human beings we all get hurt at times. Your good intention is understood differently. Sometimes, as a leader, you then act too quickly. It is therefore very important that you have your own place where you can come to rest and that you don't let crowds and hectic activity take it away. It is in that place that you can come to the realization: maybe this is good for me, but not for the collective, and as a leader you naturally stand for the collective.

You can experience a lack of authenticity if you can't show your emotions. When you find peace, you manage better to give a response that integrates your different roles (the leader, but also the emotional person). You can find that peace in yoga, but also in meditation, mindfulness or a walk in the woods.

Proven recipe

I hike. Every month I go hiking for at least 1 day. Every two or three months I take a week off. That's not a vacation, then I work in the morning and in the afternoon I go hiking. Sometimes with family, sometimes alone. Sometimes with a coach who tells me where I stand. This walking serves to reflect on all that I have learned on a personal level. I also do yoga, mediation and am very conscious about eating healthy.

Creating that space is necessary for good listening. The context makes the leader, but leadership is certainly developable. To excite as a leader through storytelling, you have to look beyond the surface and that takes time. Learning something on a cognitive level is one thing, but in practice you develop understanding on a deeper level.

On doctor's prescription

You can start by writing. That provides a conversation with yourself and creates a delay. When you look at it again two days later, you will be amazed at what you have written. Another example to slow down is listening to classical music in the car, instead of programs that overload you with even more information and input. Classical music creates reflection.

Examine what stops you from seeking more reflection space. Many people live in a very agitated context. They are constantly present, dropping off the kids, active on social media, getting hundreds of emails, being part of different teams. In short: it's hustle and bustle. They also know they actually need to reflect more, but the question is: what's stopping you from finding more space for that?

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