The commonalities between the Chinese, your golf swing, and leadership.

Knowing yourself is one of the key traits to being a good leader. While keeping ones own reactions in tune it is important for each leader to develop mindfulness, attitude, and strategy to promote well being within organization. This can sometimes seem like a daunting task as a leader. Using ones own attitude and demeanor as an example, each leader should channel that same energy to develop positive attitudes between coworkers and employees. The whole “lead by doing” scenario applies here, but also in a psychological sense. Putting pure belief into practice can be simple, yet powerful. I am suggesting that the idea of Self Generated Effect can be used to shape organizational environments in limitless ways and styles, though it must first be used to shape each leaders own attitude. Since Self Generated positivity is often used to manage individual stress, it can also be applied in a management environment for a different purpose. Next time you have a bad day, bad experience, or a bad attitude, slap on a big genuine smile and see how you feel then. Sounds elementary or stupid even, but that is just your attitude. If you feel better you may realize that things are not actually as bad as your initial attitude indented you to think. The simple action of smiling is both a proven cause and effect of happiness and so it turns out you can be the conscious generator of your own happiness. If you can generate this positivity in yourself simply by smiling, you can generate it in others and ultimately you can end up shaping the attitudes of followers in an organization to be whatever you want it to be. It works and it is the idea of the Self Generated Effect.

Knowing that people have the ability to control their own attitude, why not form a profitable organization that is also a great place to be? Dating back before 700A.D. the Taoist people believed in “Wu wei ” which is simply the psychological concept of learning effortless action. Psychologically the ultimate product of “Wu wei” is learning to actually “get out of your own way” so to speak. This idea can be seen and understood when playing instruments, at work, or even playing some sports. For example, if you are a golfer and you are golfing and you start thinking hard about your swing or your last shot or your next shot, you will get in the way of your own playing. You, in essence, create anxiety about the near future (especially if you are doing badly). To improve you must realize that it is meaningless to hold anxiety about your swing or the current lie of the ball. Like “Wu wei,” to snap out of it you have to learn to truly and psychologically let your actions be effortless; each shot, each action must exist only now and nothing more. Even if you know you have an ultimate goal to “swing the club at perfect tempo” or “hit this shot right where I need it to be”, if you learn to keep a goal intact while turning off this extra feature of thinking, you then understand that the true source impeding your swing is in fact your own mind. Only then can you allow your swing to become an effortless action. When you achieve that inner harmony you have nothing getting in the way of playing great golf or becoming the great leader or manager you want to be. Still, I never said golf is easy and I will never say leadership is easy either. Practice makes perfect.

How does this apply to managers and leaders? Like playing good golf, employees often have anxiety about their jobs, bosses, and leaders, and is the cause of bad attitudes and subdued productivity. If managers don’t address anxieties, employees will naturally be withholding of their maximum positivity and productivity. Ultimately if leaders learn to “get out their own way”, and psychologically remove aimless thought action, they can then watch positive pure and intentional leadership traits emerge. The same concept applies to helping employees and followers to remove their own anxieties. If managers and leaders help employees and followers learn this technique, they can together help grow to see more positive and productive organization.

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