This week on the LID Publishing Blog, we will be hearing from some of the inspirational women we work with and finding out their thoughts on this year’s theme #BalanceforBetter. Today, we hear from Natasha Wallace, author of The Conscious Effect.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you in terms of Sharing Knowledge?
We are living in a mad world where the pace of change has sped up and we’re under constant pressure to respond to the noise and demands around us. The world is advancing so quickly that it can be hard to keep up. What do humans do when they are overwhelmed? Well, they often go into autopilot. We are only capable of focusing on so much which means that when there is too much in our line of sight, we block things out. The problem is, some of the things we block out are incredibly important for our growth and wellbeing.
Whilst we’re responding to the demands of work, the constant overload of technology, the personal stresses, and as we grow more fearful of what is happening in our own societies, we are switching off to one important thing. Ourselves. This is why mental health problems are increasing and why we’re struggling to keep on top of everything we need to get done. We’re struggling to thrive in this new era and it’s just because we’re not evolving as humans, at the same rate of the world around us.
This is why we must learn how to stay ‘awake’ and consciously aware of who we are and what we need – to be at our best. Learning more about ourselves opens up a world of opportunity to be and feel better. It helps us to focus our attention and efforts in the right direction and that means feeling better and achieving more. But how do you learn more about yourself? There are many ways but one of them is to do it as part of a group. When we surround ourselves with people who want to support us, who see our potential in a way that we often don’t, and when we work together, we achieve so much more.
Social connection is a fundamental human need and we can learn a lot about ourselves and others simply by spending time with people, sharing our thoughts and knowledge. We can learn so much from each other as women. For so long now, our quest for equality has meant often suppressing what it is to be a woman. Yet men and women often have quite different needs and experiences of life and it’s important that we are able to share that, to be open about the bad days, to celebrate the good days, to be women together. It often has a profoundly positive impact on our wellbeing and helps us to make better decisions about how to balance our lives and our wellbeing, learning from other successes (and failures).
Why do you think it is important to have a balance of men and women in business teams?
The best ideas often come from the most diverse teams. Having people who challenge each other (kindly) and who explore a range of possibilities rather than building on one or two, can produce the most innovative and successful solutions. It’s not just about gender. It’s about making sure you don’t get stuck in groupthink, where ‘sameness’ leads to limited thinking. We often stay away from the people who challenge us and the status quo because it makes us feel uncomfortable. It can even make us feel wrong. Yet unless there are people who aren’t afraid to question what’s happening around them, it can stifle progress.
Men and women can learn from each other. The skills and behaviours that men and women bring can and should be used to compliment one and other, rather than presenting a threat. When men and women work together, in the most supportive and open-minded of environments, it tends to lead to better results. This diversity of thought and approach can unlock new thinking that catalyses business success. If you would like to find out more about the Two Young Birds female development network which launches on 1 May 2019 with its first event in London, sign up for updates at www.twoyoungbirds.com.
Natasha Wallace is the Founder of coaching consultancy The Disruptive Coach, working with leaders, individuals and groups to develop greater leadership capability, resilience, confidence, engagement, and wellbeing. With a background in HR and having spent years working in senior leadership, Natasha has grounded her lessons in a practical understanding. The Conscious Effect is available to pre-order from Amazon and will be out in June.
The Conscious Effect focuses on reconnecting leaders with both their people and themselves. It awakens the awesome potential in organizations through an emotionally intelligent, people-first approach, which places employee and leadership wellbeing at its heart and helps leaders to become more consciously aware of what’s going on within and around them. If leaders take better care of themselves and their people, they will run more socially responsible businesses that can leverage the full potential of their employees. The book weaves together practical knowledge of behavioural science so that leaders understand what to do and why it works.
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