Where does good leadership come from?
I believe it starts at the core of the leader. Stop looking outward at them, and look inside at you:
- Do you practice the same level of vulnerability that you expect from your clients, students or employees?
- Can you identify where your role ends and their role begins?
- Is your obsession with meeting expectations getting in the way of your team’s ability to exceed them?
- Are you looking for richness in your work when the big payoff is in your life?
Core-Centered Leadership results in both an inspiring team following your lead, and personal gains that are rooted in authenticity. Here are the four pillars of effective leadership, inspired by Hoop Play:
#1 Drop your Hoop:
Your team will only grow as much as you are willing to.
The first thing I practice with new hoopers is dropping the hoop. No one wants to be the first person to have their hoop fall –it’s loud, everyone notices and then watches you bend over to get it. To avoid that, we drop our hoops together. When everyone is dropping the hoop on purpose – including the instructor –we find communal comfort in a moment of vulnerability. Then, when we’re learning something new, we feel safe enough to drop it. If we didn’t feel that safety, we would catch the hoop with our hands, and deprive ourselves of the one pivotal movement we need learn how to keep it up.
As the moves get tougher, I drop my hoop accidentally like everyone else. I point it out in case anyone missed it, owning my mistake and sharing the vulnerability. If I didn’t do that, if I denied myself from ever letting the hoop fall, I guarantee I wouldn’t learn anything new. So how could I expect that kind of growth from my students?
#2 Stay inside your own Hoop:
Recognize that your team will experience something you can’t.
The frustrating and wonderful thing about teaching other people to hoop, is that I can’t get inside their hoop and do it for them. It’s not like golf or hockey when you can position the student’s body just right, and then gently guide their movement. There’s only two things that will work when teaching hooping: I can watch my students carefully and point out how to position their body, and I can show them how it looks when I hoop. Here, I am reminded that the only hoop I have any control over, is my own. And, of course, that reminds me that the only person I have control over is me.
Surrendering control is tough as a leader, because we want our team to succeed. But, at the end of the day, we can’t do the work for them. We can inspire and instruct, but if we get carried away trying to make them want what we want, or work like we do, we lose them. We lose them because controlling someone else is impossible, so we each get frustrated and give up; and we lose them because they lose touch with their authentic drive. My students might not be able – or even want – to do what I can do with the hoop. But, if I let them lead, they will definitely experience something that I can’t, because I am not them. That uniqueness is not something I’m willing to deny my students, nor something I want to miss witnessing.
#3 Focus on the Process, not the Product:
Support the process and the product will exceed your expectations.
When I first started teaching I thought everyone’s hoopdance should look like mine. I measured my success as a teacher, by how closely my students mirrored my movements. Now, I realize that when I let them find their own way in the hoop, I’m far more likely to have them commit to my team. I have certified new Hoop Play Instructors who are much better at hooping than I am – instructors who know more tricks, who are in better shape, and who can dance far more beautifully than I can. If I focused on making their hoopdance look like mine, I would risk turning them away. I would transform my team of passionate instructors into a fierce rivalry, guaranteed to eliminate the majority. So instead, I focus on the process. When my students exhibit genuine passionate play, I focus on keeping that momentum going and let go of the results. The product is not a clone of myself, but an engaged and committed new teacher – one who will reach a market with my program that I never could.
#4 Play without Limits:
Keep your team engaged, by staying engaged!
When I’m teaching hoop classes I like to stay at least one step ahead of my students. I need to be ready to show an advanced fitness drill, a fancy new trick, a difficult transition or a new way to dance with the hoop – but I can’t be an expert at it all. When I focus on expanding my own creativity, however, I am always ready to offer something new to engage my students. To do this, I play without limits: I step outside my hoop to dance, write, make art, move my body, connect with others and learn. When I actively expand my horizon, I can always find a way to engage my students. In work, this might mean stepping outside of your professional role to explore something new in yourself. When your team seems stuck or apathetic, you will have something inspiring to draw them back in.
Are you ready to lead? Book a creative staff retreat with us, get Certified in Hoop Play or just connect with me at www.hoopplay.ca
~ Katelyn, hula-hooping social worker & fitness instructor @ hoopplay.ca