Banal yet genius - Why simple solutions are sometimes the best ones

More energy in everyday leadership

"I clearly have my big picture. My purpose, my vision - please don't give me that. I am a medium-sized entrepreneur with a vision at heart. I want to inspire people and take my employees with me. Unfortunately, I get stuck on the 'would like' part. Everyday life eats me up. I am tired and often simply in a bad mood. I'm looking for little help on how to get out of the loop in all the mundane everyday life."

It was clear to my coachee: his enthusiasm also determines the energy level of his employees. As a leader, he is a role model for his staff. But he is also a human being: how does he get into flow when enthusiasm is difficult for him?

My philosophy is: "Only those who are enthusiastic about themselves will inspire others!" Cheerfulness and empathy transfer just as enthusiasm and charisma do. One reason is the mirror neurons in our brain: they ensure that one feels stimulated to the same reaction simply by passively observing another person's emotion or action. So if he, as an entrepreneur, wants to lead his employees or board colleagues to enthusiasm and motivation, he should above all be enthusiastic about his project or his task. The role model function of the manager is one of the central success factors in leadership. Sounds like an old hat. It is an old hat, but it often lies unnoticed in the corner.

A question of attitude

There are obstacles on the way to a positive leadership style - admittedly: Germans are suspicious of enthusiasm. I like to quote a saying by Eckart von Hirschhausen to my clients, according to which Germans have a whining lobe instead of a frontal lobe. Anyone who is too cheerful is quickly seen as superficial and attracts envy. My client felt the same way. In his company, which he was running in the third generation, he had many enviers. Family members who envied his role as boss. Veteran employees who did not want to recognise him as a "youngster", etc. On top of that, his daily routine in the Corona pandemic became even faster, harder and more draining.

Excerpt from the coaching results

His first step was to realise: some days may start grey for him, too. In the second step, he wanted to answer the question: how can he succeed in radiating enthusiasm when the alarm clock has rung too early? The three children in the home office are annoying when he has had to fend off attacks of envy once again, and the bad business figures are also spoiling the mood of the employees?

Admittedly: It is not always easy. Nevertheless, it remains a decision that each individual makes for himself every day, in every situation: Do I choose a positive attitude, or do I decide to mope? Do you say to yourself, "I feel good, and I can do this", and smile? Or do you say to yourself, "This is all bugging me", and slump your shoulders?

Smiling works: the facts

The seemingly banal tip - just smile - has been confirmed in many studies: When you smile, you move 60 muscles in your face. Smiling signals joy to the body: the forehead is relaxed, laughter lines form, the cheeks are lifted, the nostrils spread, and the corners of the mouth go up. The brain gets the signal: "I feel good." We feel better.

Smiling works even when you are not conscious of smiling. In an experiment by psychologists Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman from the University of Kansas, test subjects held a chopstick with their lips while simultaneously solving multitasking tasks on the computer. With the chopstick in their mouths, the participants automatically contorted their facial muscles as if they were smiling. A control group completed the test without chopsticks.

"The result shows that smiling influences our physical condition even when we don't even notice that we are smiling," Kraft found out. The subjects with chopsticks in their mouths had a significantly lower pulse rate during the multitasking tasks than the control group. The subjectively perceived stress was also reduced by the contorting of the facial muscles.

Are you always smiling?

My client was not the type who wanted to walk around his company grinning like a honey-cake horse all day. That wasn't what he was about. He was more concerned with not being "at the mercy" of his bad mood. In coaching, he develops a general attitude towards everyday situations: How do I react to stress? How do I deal with setbacks? What tone of voice do I adopt? What one small thing can I do differently each day than before? He felt - motivated and productive work is easier with a positive attitude. With his decision for a positive attitude, he also received positive feedback from his employees after a short time.

In the feedback, he wrote me his tip: "I simply smile more often now - when driving, when cycling, when walking. At first, it felt strange, but over time it has become a habit. So not only have I gained positive charisma, but I am also in a better mood myself. THANK YOU!"



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