One reason I love yoga is that it does more for me than keep my energy level up and my appetite for Twinkies low. I am stronger, more flexible, sleep better, have less stress, and stand up straighter. And headstands make great party tricks. But recently, I have found the overlap in what I try to live as a people manager, mentor and coach and my yoga practice. I think we could all learn from a philosophy that practically pre-dates air.
3 Yoga Teachings to Zen-up Your People Management Skills
1. Falling is Part of the Pose
I think we all accept that a lot of missteps have to happen to get to the right answer. But we usually think mistakes are a good thing insofar as we can avoid them in the future. What we don’t always realize is those missteps were an integral part of the answer. I admit I have gone out in public with mat burn on my nose from an errant arm balance. And, though it is less likely to happen as I get comfortable with a pose, I can still fall especially if I am pushing myself to someplace new. And getting to someplace new usually takes me beyond what I previously found acceptable. As a coach, resist the urge to “save” someone from their better answer.
2. The Rule of 3
Constructive feedback is a great thing, except when there is too much. As a yoga teacher, I was taught the rule of 3. Give people 3 things to focus on. Why?
1. Because that’s all humans can remember
2. Because more than 3 feels demoralizing — like there is more wrong than right
3. Because more than 3 can obscure priorities. As an instructor, I can see all sorts of wrong, but I know if I can only mention 3, I will give you only the most critical. My algorithm for feedback:
- Are you in mortal (career) danger?
- Will you feel the implications of this next week (in your knees/career)?
- Do I see an opportunity for you to stretch beyond what you think you can do?
4. I said I’d only give you 3. You need to pay attention, which brings me to…
3. Be Present
Being present means not dwelling in the past, which you cannot change and not looking to the future, which you are not guaranteed. It means bringing awareness to what you are doing NOW. Forget multi-tasking. Focus. It certainly means not texting your dog groomer while someone is asking for your guidance. Nothing could say more about how you value your role as mentor. All together now….OM