Despite being in love with sea, on every beach vacation, I would happily stay on shore- side and longingly watch people enjoy water activities. For those who know me, getting inside water was like my kryptonite! Last summer, I decided enough is enough and decided to go for a tandem scuba diving on my vacation in the beautiful island of Koh-Tao. Immediately as we dived in, panic almost hit me and I was like, “what the hell am I doing”? I was claustrophobic, almost gasping for air and felt extremely strange. And suddenly like that, I just decided to breathe, let go of my anxiety and trust my instructor. It was almost surreal as I became aware of the exquisiteness enveloping me. The slight shimmer of the sunlight penetrating through the depths, the silence clogging my ears, the bubbles screaming up and down and the colorful aquatic world was finer than most experiences so far.
A large part of my decision to come to IMD was driven by the leadership stream offered here. Despite managing a multinational team, I was often left perplexed by what was really driving my behavior and its impact on people around me. Call it lack of understanding of human psyche or limited self-awareness or may be a combination of both. I always avoided delving too much into it as I was quite afraid of finding something disagreeable.
The leadership stream for the year at IMD begins with providing us an impetus towards developing a deeper insight into one’s own behavior through exposure to various tools, frameworks and situations through the IMD’s very popular leadership lab. Self-aware teams can manage conflict easier, capitalize on each other’s strengths and develop higher resilience.
The last few days in the leadership lab pushed me to get over my fear and scuba dive into the subconscious level of my mind and discover blind spots which I had been almost oblivious to through huge part of my existence. The success of the entire experience largely rests into taking that leap of faith. However, once we decide to take that chance, we have our cohort and a leadership coach to be our tandem guides for the rest of that dive.
Difficult as it may sound, but finding that psychological security in my team was the first part of my experience. Then identifying those not so pleasant traits of my personality and finally taking baby steps towards managing them or as our leadership professor says, becoming comfortable with writing with the wrong hand. This experience also made me aware of how I had built just a scaffolding around and did not really reinforce the core foundations while trying to get rid of certain habits over the years. Hence, exposing me to crumbling with perhaps even mild earthquakes in those areas.
For us as a team, we are discovering a whole new way of collaborating and a higher empathy towards each other. I can already observe the impact of tiny changes in micro habits by each of us, thus slowly propelling us towards becoming an ‘A Team’ ?
(Image Courtesy: Google Images)