CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Agenda - Why leaders need to self-reflect to better motivate their people

CEO Agenda

Why leaders need to self-reflect to better motivate their people

Ella Zhang

Inspiring and motivating others is crucial for leaders, requiring understanding, empathy, and deep connection. While there are various strategies for achieving this, one often overlooked approach is self-intimacy. By delving deep into your being, you not only build a profound connection with yourself but also unlock self-awareness, reveal core values, sharpen emotional intelligence, clarify purpose, develop a resonating leadership style, and hence become a source of inspiration and motivation for those around you.

Why cultivate self-intimacy? 

Cultivating self-intimacy is a process of understanding your inner world, including your unique character, values, thought patterns, emotions, strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and purpose. It lays the foundation for effective leadership, allowing you to lead authentically, confidently, and purposefully. Self-intimacy enhances several leadership capabilities, such as:

  1. Self-awareness
    Understanding your strengths, weaknesses, values, and triggers is the cornerstone of effective leadership. It enables informed decisions, authentic communication, emotional management, and awareness of how your actions impact others.
  2. Authenticity
    In a business landscape hungry for genuine leadership, self-intimacy empowers leaders to embrace their true selves, radiating a captivating presence. Authenticity fosters trust and creates an environment conducive to innovation and collaboration.
  3. Building trust via Vulnerability and Connection
    Self-intimacy helps leaders to clarify their purpose and values, creating consistency between intentions, actions and decisions, which inspires trust and motivates others to work toward common goals. When leaders are open about challenges and setbacks and use them to grow and evolve, they create an environment where others feel safe to share their struggles. Bonding on this level sparks trust and a sense of commitment, motivating others to go above and beyond to achieve collective goals.
  4. Purpose-driven leadership
    A deep understanding of your values, purpose, and priorities cultivates an unwavering dedication that inspires others to connect their work to a higher mission, which fuels enthusiasm, drives performance, and nurtures a culture of success. It won’t surprise you that self-intimate leaders also have higher emotional intelligence. They are aware of their own emotions and how emotions influence their thoughts and actions, which enables them to empathise and connect deeply with others, navigate challenging situations, resolve conflicts, and create a positive work environment.

How to do it?

Cultivating self-intimacy involves nurturing a strong connection with one’s thoughts, emotions, values, and aspirations. And here are the four types of self-intimacy leaders should focus on:

  1. Mental Self-Intimacy
    Mental self-intimacy is about gaining clarity by understanding your thoughts, beliefs, and cognitive patterns, so you can check biases, think critically, make mindful decisions, and adapt to new challenges.

    To cultivate Mental Self-Intimacy, you can capture and challenge your thoughts to think more flexibly; You can expand your mind by purposefully designing your environment to break away from old, unhelpful comforts; and safeguard your attention to be a productive thinker, hence an effective leader who can allocate your attention to what matters.

  2. Spiritual Self-Intimacy
    Spiritual self-intimacy involves connecting with a higher purpose or meaning beyond material success so that leaders can align their actions and decisions with their core values to form a greater sense of purpose. Such alignment fosters a sense of fulfilment, authenticity, and resilience, providing a deeper motivation to lead with integrity.

    To cultivate Spiritual Self-Intimacy, you can deepen the connection with your inner self by harnessing the power of silence and solitude, managing your ego, reflecting to connect the dots between your core values, character, decisions and life experiences, hence see the big picture and the role you are playing in it.

  3. Emotional Self-Intimacy
    Emotional self-intimacy allows leaders to stay composed under pressure, empathise with their team members, recognise their needs, and provide support. You can cultivate emotional intimacy by paying attention to your emotions, identifying them without judgment, and understanding the triggers and patterns behind your emotional responses. You can also practise self-compassion by embracing self-care practices that nourish your emotional well-being, finding healthy outlets for expressing your emotions, such as journaling, venting with your qualified advisors, or engaging in creative activities to regulate and manage challenging emotions effectively.
  4. Physical Self-Intimacy
    Maintaining physical well-being is essential for leaders to sustain their energy, focus, and resilience. It enables leaders to prioritise self-care, work with instead of against their body, listen to their body’s needs, and provide it with the nourishment and rest it requires. To cultivate Physical self-intimacy, you can engage in body-awareness practices, such as yoga, tai chi, or mindfulness-based movement, tune into the sensations, tensions, and messages your body communicates; you can also engage in activities that stimulate your senses and bring you joy, such as appreciate the beauty of nature, or expose to heat or cold to engage your senses.

Leadership is not solely about leading others; it begins with leading oneself. Cultivating self-intimacy is not only a personal imperative but also a strategic advantage. You lay the foundation for genuine connections, trust, and collaboration with your people by nurturing self-intimacy on mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical levels. By nurturing your relationship with yourself, you will become a beacon of inspiration and motivation, positively impacting the lives of those around you and fostering a thriving and empowered team to reach their fullest potential and create a culture of excellence and fulfilment.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Agenda - Why leaders need to self-reflect to better motivate their people
Ella Zhang
Ella Zhang, author of Upgrade: How to outperform your default self to gain your superpowers, is a strategic change maker, organisational development specialist and coach, who helps business leaders to tap into their inner wisdom to design and fine tune people strategies, form up individual and organisational habits to create value and purpose driven workplaces.

Ella Zhang is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with her through LinkedIn. For more information, visit the author’s website CLICK HERE.