Battling Burnout: There Is No Magic. It’s Simply Resilience

We all get overly preoccupied and busy trying to meet deadlines and schedules, the demands of work, being present to take care of our family among other activities, and forget to draw the line when we begin to experience emotional drain due to the high level of concentration and absorption they require. This is just to let you know that burnout does not happen overnight. It is a gradual process with no observable signs at first but becomes worse as time goes on. According to the WHO, burnout is a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by the feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job or feelings of negativity related to one’s job and reduced professional efficacy. It occurs when you are emotionally exhausted, overburdened and unable to keep up with life’s constant demands which can affect your physical and mental health if you do not acknowledge and manage it.      

Do you find it difficult to stay productive? Do you feel you are under unhealthy pressure? Do you get tired easily? Do you dread going to work? Are you overwhelmed? Do you flare up out of proportion at the slightest provocation? There is a probability that you are close to or already suffering from burnout if you find yourself answering “yes” to many of these questions. Burnout is always difficult to spot or may be confused with the symptoms of stress, hence the need to know when to walk away, shift your perspective, and prioritize self care. 


The field of neuroscience has shown that our brains possess a kind of radar that can identify possible dangers and trigger the fight-or-flight response in our bodies, which allows us to protect ourselves. This stimulus illuminates the choices our ancestors had to make when determining how to respond to the perceived threat to their survival. It is called the amygdala. The amygdala was able to perceive the possible threat posed by a tiger assault some three thousand years ago and transmit a warning signal to the human brain, telling it to either fight or flee. Today, the amygdala can now interpret external stressors as possible dangers to life, triggering the brain to activate a survival mechanism. For instance, the amygdala may interpret a negative email, over demanding job expectations, chaotic environment, work life imbalance or even a toxic environment as a tiger attack, resulting in the brain’s natural defense mechanism. 


When the amygdala is triggered, the prefrontal cortex is off balance. Our prefrontal cortex, sometimes known as the “commander in chief,” is the brain’s reasoning center and the location where we make important decisions. The result of this trigger makes us impulsive and leads to making bad choices, thereby affecting our relationships with people. However, the good news is that if we are in the practice of keeping our heart and brain connected, we can swiftly recover from a hijack. As a result, developing routines and healthy habits can help you better control your emotions and lessen the stressors that can cause burnout.


When experiencing emotional exhaustion and energy depletion, resilience should be viewed as a valuable asset for reducing burnout. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines resilience as the process of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, particularly through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands. While tackling the issues that arise on a daily basis, we should also hold ourselves accountable for the actions we take and keep the promises we make. The occurrence of highly stressful events is not something that can be altered, but how we understand and react to these occurrences is something that we can control. When things do not go as planned, resilience is the capacity to adapt and recover.


Resilience is a key factor in preventing burnout. To be resilient, you need to build it even before you need it. Below are practical steps to building resilience.


  1. Self-Care: Focusing on self-care is one of the most important ways to develop resilience. Foster wellness by taking care of your body, nurture yourself, promote a healthy lifestyle by eating a regular and well balanced meal, be self aware and know when to say no, maintain a good sleep routine and make out time for activities that you enjoy. Engage yourself with activities that will make you deliberately attend to your own needs and feelings.
  2. Practice Presence: Asides external stressors that can lead to burnout, we also have internal stressors like being overwhelmed with the inability to meet up with too high expectations we set for ourselves, exhaustion from unrealistic goals and deadlines, e.t.c. You need to understand that work is not life but just a part of it. See every set back as a lesson and another opportunity to do things right rather than soaking yourself with regrets. Being present opens you up to Joy which boosts your overall health and well being.
  3. Be Optimistic: Optimism is displayed by people who frequently anticipate positive outcomes in the future. Train yourself into positive self talking to see opportunities rather than a dead end. Pessimism which is the opposite of optimism is an attitude of hopelessness towards life or a negative mental attitude to situations which leads to lower resilience. The more you believe in things working out for the best, the likely you are to see results.
  4. Adaptability: To thrive in this ever changing world, you must build adaptability. The difference between Adaptability and Resilience is that while resilience is bouncing back from difficulties, adaptability is adjusting and creating something positive from the difficulty. So, it is Adaptability and Resilience not Adaptability or Resilience. Hence, intentionally integrating these two by keeping an open mind, learning to embrace change and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone will prevent you from getting drowned in the pressures of life. 
  5. Seeking Help: It is okay to get stuck and seek help on your way to building resilience. Developing resilience takes time and you should consider speaking to a coach if you feel you are not making progress or if you are not sure on how to begin. See here to get the right assistance needed to build resilience in order to navigate the day to day challenges of life.


Considering these practical steps to building resilience as a key factor in tackling burnout, it is crucial to ensure that we consciously integrate them into our daily life. Positive mental health and an improved overall well being is enhanced by a resilient mindset.

Transitioning to the New Year: Goal Setting

If you are one of those people who had intended to achieve quite a number of listed goals this year but did not and you are experiencing feelings of anxiety over the forthcoming new year, you are not alone! As we approach the end of the year, we evaluate what we have and have not accomplished in the past 12 months. It is critical to recognize and accept these feelings because it is the first step to taking proactive and constructive actions to enhance your overall mental health and well-being. 

The beginning of the year is a great time to start a new habit but while most people make resolutions, many others fail to keep them after only two weeks. A healthy alternative to feeling guilty or pressured into making significant lifestyle changes for the new year is to consider what you actually need, want or would benefit from. Making modest and enduring adjustments can be more energizing and can serve as a trigger for more significant changes we want to see in ourselves. Also, setting measurable benchmarks and realistic dates for improvements and changes that are focused on your individual needs, aspirations, and ambitions is highly important.

In this article, we will focus on goal-setting as a highly effective method for imagining your ideal future and inspiring yourself to make your dreams come true. You may decide where you want to go in life by creating goals but knowing exactly what you want to accomplish helps you focus your efforts in the right places and you will be able to identify distractions that can easily misdirect you.

Goal setting implies that if we aren’t happy with the direction that our lives are taking, we need to make some changes in order to feel more fulfilled. If we are serious about making significant improvements in our lives, we will, without a doubt, have to alter our outcomes as well as the people we keep company with. This may require a significant amount of encouragement and support from us. If we take a look at the world around us and consider the individuals in our lives who are succeeding at the things they desire out of life, we may notice that these people have already made the necessary adjustments.

We will all run into folks who don’t accept personal responsibility for their own actions and let their actions dictate their results. Those who complain about the unfairness of life, how they never get a break, or how someone else has all the good fortune, are the ones in this entitled category of people. Unfortunately, they may not be looking at how hard those people have worked to create what they have.

It takes a lot of determination and desire to get what we want out of life.  In order to achieve what we desire, we need to make a commitment to ourselves and have an awareness of how things operate. Setting objectives, committing them to paper, and then actively pursuing them is the only way to figure out which activities will get us to the final destination we see for ourselves. Another important concept that we must comprehend is that failure is a necessary step on the path to success, but success alone does not mark the end of an endeavor by itself.

The new year is almost upon us and to avoid getting stuck in another cycle of setting objectives, losing track of them or failing to achieve them and then setting the same goals once more with a fresh resolution to accomplish them, do not be broken by the weight of expectations, face every situation the right way, be consistent, keep yourself accountable, track your progress and celebrate you small successes.

Gray Matter & Leadership: Fostering Resilience – Part 1

Recovering from failure


The American Psychological Association (APA) defines resilience as the process of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, particularly through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands. 


Resilience also refers to the outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences. APA suggests that research in the field of psychology reveals that the resources and skills associated with greater positive adaptation, such as resilience, can be developed and improved through practice.



Let me give a simple example of cultivating resilience. Having strong ties with our immediate family members, friends, and other people is essential for our mental well-being. Resilience can be strengthened by allowing ourselves to get assistance and support from others who care about us and are willing to listen to us. 


My family and I, and by family I also mean my team, meet every week to discuss how we can do better and how we can put into practice the values that we advocate for. While tackling the issues that arise on a daily basis, we should hold ourselves accountable for the actions we take and keeping the promises we make. The occurrence of highly stressful events is not something that can be altered, but how we understand and react to these occurrences is something that we can control. Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from failure and prevail over adversity in order to maintain focus on the shared goal. 


I wouldn’t want to be a disappointment to myself or to others, and I certainly wouldn’t want to give the impression of being incoherent or immature by failing to consider the possibility that the circumstances of the future may be more favorable than those of the present. That is how each individual member of the family considers the group’s best interests. If one member of the family falls, the others will soon follow. 


Emotional Equilibrium


The field of neuroscience has demonstrated that our brains are equipped with a kind of radar that can detect potential threats and set off a psychological reaction that is known as the fight-or-flight response or the stress response, so we can protect ourselves. This stimulus sheds light on the options that our ancestors had to consider when deciding how to react to the perceived danger to their survival. 


It’s called the amygdala, and it is a mass of gray matter located within the temporal lobes of the brain’s cerebrum. It is about the size of an almond and functions as a kind of satellite. It might have saved the lives of our ancestors, but it is now the cause of the emotional sabotage the new generations experience because its perception of the threat has shifted over time.



Around three thousand years ago, the amygdala was able to recognize the potential threat posed by a tiger attack and send a warning signal to the human brain, instructing it to either fight or run away. The amygdala can now perceive environmental stressors as potential threats to a person’s life, which causes the brain to become involved in a survival protocol. For instance, a bad email, an uncomfortable chat, or even a Facebook comment can be perceived by the amygdala as a tiger assault, triggering the brain’s instinctive protective response.



Having said that, this does not occur at no cost. A severe alarm will, in the same manner as with any reliable security system, bring the entire network to a halt. This is because all of the programs will become busy responding to the perceived emergency, causing other duties to be placed on the backlog. The brain operates the same way every time. When the amygdala is stimulated, our prefrontal cortex, which is our “commander in chief,” the region of the brain responsible for thinking, and the area where we make significant choices, is thrown off balance. 


As a result, we become impulsive, we make bad decisions, and we damage our relationships. The good news is that we can recover quickly from a hijack when we have the habit of connecting both our brain and heart. It sounds difficult, but building good habits and a consistent routine can decrease stress, anxiety, and control emotions.



What steps do our brains take to initiate this process? When the hypothalamus detects a dangerous situation or a stressful stimulus, it communicates this information to the adrenal gland, which is also referred to as the adrenal medulla. The hypothalamus plays a critical part in the regulation of many functions throughout the body, including the secretion of hormones. The body then responds by releasing a hormone known as adrenaline through a system known as the endocrine system, which is a chemical messenger system. 


This is the mechanism that sets off the fight-or-flight response. Nevertheless, the release of noradrenaline into the brain can result in an increase in both the heart rate and the  amount of blood pumped out of the heart.



Fear, bias, optimism, and intuition are all things that can get in the way of making decisions that are well-informed and measured, making it difficult for humans to make decisions that are clear-eyed in times of stress and crisis. We are encouraged to slow down our thinking and to invite more critical thought through the continual application of discipline and practice.

Quiet Quitting: What it is and How to keep Employees Motivated

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only led to restrictions and a lockdown but has also caused some people to re-evaluate their career choices. According to the publication by BMC Public Health Research on the impact of COVID-19 on work and private life, about 30% of employees reported that their work and private lives had worsened, whereas about 10% reported improvements in work and 13% in private life. It has radically changed the way people live and work.

Most of us have heard of the great resignation, but what about quiet quitting? When I first stumbled on this word, I actually thought it meant employees discreetly resigning from their positions but that is not what it means. Quiet quitting is not the same as truly quitting; instead, it has been seen as a reaction to burnout where workers are quitting from going above and beyond and refusing to perform duties for which they are not being compensated. 

According to the WHO, burnout is a condition marked by energy depletion or tiredness, a growing dislike for one’s job, and diminished professional effectiveness, which is as a result of continuous workplace stress. Burnout can also occur when your efforts at work fall short of what you had hoped for and you get utterly disheartened as a result. It is a condition that if ignored for a prolonged period of time, can lead to fatigue, disengagement and depression. There is not a precise “solution” other than what may seem painfully obvious, which is to get rid of the sense of overwork and remove yourself from the circumstance that produces it, which in this case is quiet quitting. Employees who are burned out may choose to quietly leave their jobs to reduce their stress. It may also imply that they are prepared to change positions or that they are hunting for new jobs. It is a workplace trend that has been in existence for a very long time which people used to term as “employee disengagement” which is now getting a lot of attention lately. 

One could also term quiet quitting as the new way of doing a job’s bare minimum. Employees still work perhaps because they require the perks or the pay, but their motivation has vanished and to survive, they are only exerting the barest minimum effort. The task is getting done but they no longer have the desire or ambition to go above and beyond all because they do not feel respected, understood or heard. Asides employees being unhappy, demotivated and burned out at work, here are some other reasons they may resolve into quiet quitting:

  1. Too many high expectations by leaders without inspiration, empowerment and encouragement.
  2. High and different expectations by employees from their so-called “Dream Jobs”.
  3. The feeling of being underappreciated.
  4. Ambiguous Job Descriptions.
  5. Micromanagement.

Signs of quiet quitting can take up different forms depending on the employee’s motives for wishing to reduce their workload. The signs of an employee who is genuinely dissatisfied may be far more obvious than someone who just wants a better work-life balance. Some of the signs of quiet quitting include:

  1. Employee staying silent rather than sharing input.
  2. Isolation from other members of the team.
  3. Arriving late or leaving early.
  4. Lack of Enthusiasm.
  5. Reduction in productivity and bare minimum performance.

New technology and a more interconnected world has led to a significant shift in the expectations of today’s talent compared to those of earlier generations. Numerous studies have demonstrated the strong relationship between employee engagement and motivation. Because of this, organisations should give employee motivation more thought and funding. A motivated worker can contribute significantly to growth and productivity. There are a few proven and excellent method for motivating workers in this 21st century which are:

  1. Coaching: Many organisations are suffering from the effect of quiet quitting and employee coaching is one step into the right path to keep employees motivated. Coaching is becoming increasingly common and relevant to the global workforce to enable more effective leaders and a more motivated and better workforce. An early coaching investment in your team would provide career development opportunities, improve emotional intelligence, encourage the delivery of feedback, build accountability, set goals and achieve them. See here to build an amazing coaching program for your team.
  2. Encouraging creativity and innovation: It can be tempting for leaders to keep a close eye on every activity their team members are performing especially if the employees are working remotely; however, doing so will only increase employees’ feelings of resentment and distrust and shut down employees who are enthusiastic, creative and productive. When leaders insist on doing things their way, it can lead to micromanagement and such conduct frequently results from their lack of confidence in their workers’ ability to complete jobs correctly. Enable, empower and encourage your employees to make use of their creativity. As a leader, you should strive to provide your team the freedom to work freely and complete tasks in a reasonable amount of time to keep your team motivated.
  3. Engagement survey and organizational responsiveness to employee feedback: A thorough understanding of the workers who make up the workforce must be reflected in sound employment policies intended to recruit, train, retain and reward personnel. Employee surveys are a great way to get such information. Management will learn a lot about employee impressions from a thoughtfully created and executed employee survey that can be used to enhance the workplace. When an organization listens to employee feedback, retention rates go up, absenteeism goes down, productivity goes up, customer service goes up, and employee morale goes up. Onboarding and exit interviews should be in-depth in order for HR teams to learn more about what motivates employees and what causes them to leave. Get your survey assessment here.
  4. Clear Job Description: Employees who work without clear direction can become confused, frustrated and demoralized. Good job descriptions boost morale by clearing up the majority of ambiguity and confusion. An employee has the opportunity to develop their abilities and increase productivity when they are aware of exactly what is expected of them.
  5. Employee compensation: A compensation package does not always imply monetary remuneration but also covers work-life balance, medical coverage, flexible benefits and employee incentives. Employees in today’s workforce prioritize other components of remuneration just as much as they do money. Employees are primarily driven to consistently push themselves to achieve greater heights through compensation. It gives them the motivation to put in extra effort and keep moving forward in order to reach the next goal.

Quiet quitting is a new label for the same problem that has been ongoing in organizations. Therefore, it is expedient that leaders discuss potential career pathways with the employee and look for ways to set up duties that will enable them to accomplish their ultimate objectives. If employers do not assist staff in managing reasonable expectations and make them feel appreciated, there will not be any improvement in the rate of Quiet Quitting. Your work should enhance your life rather than cause chaos because everyone deserves to be happy.

Now Or Stay Behind

Nabil Bouassaba - Now or stay behind

We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet. —Richard Riley, Former US Secretary of Education

The lessons of history teach us that the transitioning leaders from one industrial revolution to another were involuntarily driven to their predetermined destinies of either innovation or failure. The earliest mechanization of manufacturing was accomplished through the use of water and steam power during the first industrial revolution. The second industrial revolution involved the utilization of electric power. The third one automated the production process with the help of electronic and computer technology. 

But this one is the fusion of technologies that already exist, the mutation of traditional processes, such as how we interact with one another, how we educate in school, how we perform our job, how we do research, and how we lead teams and develop new ideas. In today’s world, chatbots can provide customer support, execute operations on bank accounts, and book flights and hotel rooms; and artificial intelligence can learn our routines, our favorite cuisine, our preferred hobby, and any relevant details from the past to assist us in making the best decisions for the future.

This will have an effect on our sense of privacy, our concepts of ownership, our purchasing patterns, the amount of time we give to work and leisure, and the manner in which we advance professionally, cultivate our skills, meet new people, and nourish existing connections.

It is possible that this will seem depressing to us because the majority of it has the effect of reducing the amount of human interaction and the utilization of the critical success factors that I mentioned in this book, such as empathy. But what other options do we have? Should we fight it or accept it? There is no doubt about one thing. Resisting will not make it go away. Technology is here to stay. Technology progression continues to develop and replicate itself at a rapid pace and is consequently gaining control of our lives. Unless we treat technology as a tool and not a purpose, it will influence our behaviors and decisions regardless of whether or not we want it to.

For example, it was impossible for students in the past to know the curriculum content if it had not been presented to them by their teachers. Currently, information is available in a variety of formats and can be accessed with the click of a button. As a result of the trend toward independent learning, students are being given the opportunity to decide how they would like to gain knowledge. For one thing, teachers can delegate tasks to students that require them to formulate practical responses to issues. Students have access to an infinite number of resources to investigate the issue and find a solution that is tailored to their individual preferences. Some of them will look things up on the internet, some will watch videos, and yet others will use applications on their smartphones. The teacher is no longer the only source of information in this model of instruction, which is known as the “flipped classroom.” Instead, teachers in this model take on the role of mediators in the classroom and monitor their students’ progress toward reaching the academic goals.

There is no question that technology encourages young people to work together and be creative. As a result, this opens up enormous doors for them to cultivate strong personalities, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving abilities, all of which will eventually help them become successful leaders.

Over the course of my career, which spanned more than a decade, I had the opportunity to work with international schools and ministries of education. During that time, I experienced the transformative power that technology had on learning and teaching. 

I was in charge of the Middle East sales operation for an Australian e-learning company that offered K-12 cloud-based solutions, designed around the concept of gamification to help pupils achieve mastery levels in mathematics, English, and science. According to research by the University of Oxford and the Australian Christian University in over twenty-one thousand schools, it was discovered that students who utilized the math program had an advantage of up to nine percent on national exams in comparison to students who did not have access to those tools.

Because of technological advancements, children from different parts of the world are now able to receive an education of the same standard. You would have a much better understanding of how far technology is going to go to democratize learning if you saw a young girl in a remote city in Asia having access to the same level of education as any child living in the United Kingdom or the United States.

I know! You can’t wait to find out about the negative aspects of technology, can you? You have a point. There is a dark side to this revolution as well as dangers that come along with it. But is it possible for us to weigh the benefits and drawbacks? The natural disposition of our thinking is to jump right to contemplating the negative aspects first. It is perfectly reasonable to take precautions to safeguard both us and future generations against the potential risks posed by technological advancements. However, while we are debating whether or not to get rid of technology, which will never happen, we can work toward transforming ourselves and our children into digital citizens who have a high level of emotional intelligence and are responsible for our actions and the way we deploy technology.

Successful leaders recognize that technology is a tool that can simplify operations and establish the framework for improved collaboration, faster access to reliable information, and more efficient decision-making processes. Other leaders are steadfast in their commitment to their traditional management style, which not only lends them more authority but also shields them from the risk of having their essential skills tested, such as adaptability and change management.

Both organizations that are entirely digital and organizations that are entirely analog are doomed to fail. The same thing occurred in the educational institutions that made the decision to do away with textbooks and replace them with e-learning instead. They sped up the revolution that was already taking place in their surroundings and pressured teachers and parents to make significant adjustments without first conducting research or making adequate plans for a smooth transition. Traditional schools, on the other hand, prevented their communities from having access to modern resources that would have made the process of teaching and learning more streamlined and effective.

However, those reference schools that utilized a hybrid method demonstrated the highest levels of achievement overall. Everything that could be made easier with the help of technology has been converted into a digital format, but the traditional methods of instruction, which include using textbooks, pens and paper, have been preserved wherever they’re necessary for the development of the pupils.

The same principle applies to each and every other sector. A computer will never be able to take the place of a person’s innate intuition due to the fact that it is unable to interpret emotions, and its calculations are limited to algorithms and probabilities. The human brain and heart both function with an unlimited number of dimensions and are connected to both reason and soul, and this is exclusive to humans.

Nabil Bouassaba

Honoring Leadership: Deep Self-Diving

Self-diving is a cognitive ability that empowers us to adequately comprehend our strengths, shortcomings, and controlling qualities just as others perceive them. Self-diving is the most significant way for us to access our capacity to control our outcomes. Self-diving is similar to self-awareness, which incorporates our capacity to perceive what’s going on within us and peruse the sensations inside our body. In simple terms, it is our capability to perceive our emotions and deal with their driving forces as well as our response to them.

Let’s imagine for a moment . . . Melanie is a physician who is doing rounds on the patients in the intensive care unit (ICU), but on her way there, she gets an unpleasant text message that makes her upset. Melanie is fully aware that she can’t afford to make any mistakes in her patients’ care or fail to recognize important changes in their status. She is faced with the decision of whether or not to acknowledge that the text message is disturbing her before entering the first patient’s room, or whether or not to put her anger to one side and continue with her rounding.

Self-diving means that Melanie should be aware of what she is experiencing on the inside of her, give it a name (for example, “I am unhappy about the text message”), watch and regulate her reaction to that feeling, and take into consideration how it may affect the others in her immediate environment. In the event that this does not occur, there is a significant likelihood that Melanie will carry her negative feelings with her and project them either onto the other practitioners who will be rounding with her or even onto the patients whom she plans to visit.

Melanie was fortunate in that she possessed a high level of emotional self-awareness, because she was aware that in order for her to be successful as a healthcare provider, she needed to be caring; and that she would not be able to have therapeutic relationships and assist others unless she had a firm grasp on her own identity. After the traumatic experience that caused her distress, she began engaging in self-diving with the intention of reading her inner world so that she could comprehend, exercise control over, and have an effect on her outer world (patients and their families, other practitioners).

The insight and understanding she gained regarding what was occurring on the inside of her enabled her to deliberately look at herself in an objective manner and witness the process of the information that was generated by the ignition of her negative emotions. As a consequence of this effort, she was able to effectively control her response to such feelings.

Melanie did not have it easy when it came to getting to know herself, (which is not an easy task for anyone). The importance of deep self-diving lies not only in the fact that it facilitates our understanding of ourselves, but also in the fact that it is a continual process of discovery, analogous to a game that features a variety of different challenge levels. After completing one level with success, you are advanced to the next one, which is much more difficult and is resistant to whatever adjustments you made in the level before it.

The question that has to be answered is how to complete the entire process successfully. The best way to assimilate difficult concepts is to break them down into manageable, step-by-step processes that are both structured and actionable. This process will allow for a smooth implementation even while we deal with the difficulties of everyday life.

Strengths and Weaknesses

It’s vital to pay attention and identify the impact that our ideas and feelings have on how we act; for instance, if we’re pleased, we’re more likely to do good things, whereas if we’re furious, we’re more likely to do unkind things. The same principle applies to being conscious of both our strengths and our weaknesses.

Having an awareness of both our capabilities and limitations provides us with a deeper insight into who we are and how we function. There are a lot of people who find it hard to talk about their strengths and weaknesses, or simply to recognize what they are. But identifying them is incredibly important during crucial moments like when looking for a new career or when intending to run a business.

When we are aware of our weaknesses, we have a better idea of the factors that may be preventing us from achieving our goals. In addition, having this awareness can help us zero in on specific areas in which we may concentrate our efforts to enhance the overall quality of our life.

One good example of weaknesses, is when we frequently find ourselves overwhelmed simply because we find it difficult to say no to people. This can be at work, at home, or even to ourselves. When we become aware of this frequent flaw, we will be able to make major strides toward improving the quality of our life. We should put the question to ourselves: “What feelings are we aware of having right now?” Label them, give a description of each one, and then choose the one that stands out the most to us. When we get that emotion, what physical changes do we notice in our bodies? What if we suddenly felt the complete opposite of that emotion? What do we think would happen to our physical self? For the purpose of developing a high level of emotional self-awareness and preventing emotional hijacking, it is highly necessary to gain an understanding of what causes our feelings.

It is very obvious that we should not define our strengths with the purpose of comparing ourselves to others in order to determine who is more or less capable. People are different from one another, and this plays a significant role in how each individual identifies their own strengths. Instead, being aware of our own capabilities can enable us to build on those aspects and push ourselves further. When we feel confident about ourselves, we are able to tap into our full potential and do anything that provides us with a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment. Strengths are the things that usually come naturally to us and make us feel good about ourselves.

Unfortunately, a great number of people have either forgotten about their abilities or, as I indicated earlier, are simply unaware that they even exist. Those are individuals who pass up enormous opportunities to make substantial improvements. As a general rule, they are the ones who get a great deal out of complaining about their current predicament while doing nothing to improve it.

The strengths inventory may help us save a significant amount of time due to the fact that we already possess them. All that is required of us is to put those strengths to work. This will lead to increased self-confidence as well as an attitude that is more open to change.

Keep an Open Mind

Dr. Dan Siegel (The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being Daniel J. Siegel, April 2007), in his attunement approach, said that attunement is where we sense a clear image of our mind in the mind of another. This is also known as empathy.

Attunement is emotional mirroring, the ability to connect with others. And its polar opposite, emotional detachment, hinders our capacity to express our feelings, which can cause difficulty in developing and sustaining relationships.

Because our brains contain mirror cells, our actions are able to accurately reflect our feelings. Because of this, many of us are capable of shedding tears while hearing a tragic narrative because we can empathize with how others are feeling. However, emotional mirroring is an unconscious tendency, and it may have detrimental repercussions if the person we are emotionally mirroring is struggling with the same issue we are. We run the risk of getting buried in repeating our complaints about it over and over in a manner that prevents us from resolving the issue and moving on. Because we continue to share our worries and gloomy feelings with one another, the difficulty of the situation keeps growing.

This behavior happens rather frequently in teams, and it often reflects the closed attitude of the team’s leader, because the rest of the team only views the problem from the perspective of the leader, and they do not take the initiative to think creatively or even to communicate their own personal opinions. This results in a prolonged state of stagnation, which not only has an adverse effect on the performance of that team but also puts the accomplishments of the entire organization at risk.

According to a number of studies, it is impossible for corporate leaders to be successful if they do not have a genuine interest in the people around them and an openness to their perspectives and ideas. This is the only way to get leaders to diverge from their usual modes of thinking and come up with new ideas. Embracing an open mind not only allows them to gain a fresh perspective on a situation, but it also fosters a sense of collective ownership and responsibility amongst the team.

An open mind isn’t just for receiving other people’s views; it’s also for expressing our own. There is a psychological foundation to the art of being understood. The majority of people are unable to effectively communicate their ideas to others. The key is to be able to mentally reverse-engineer and cultivate sensations that are already familiar within one’s own head and imagination. Making our case, or at least letting others listen to something that they can identify with, will result in people loving us for who we are and making sense of our actions.

Nabil Bouassaba

21st-Century Leadership

The rate of technological innovation in the twenty-first century is accelerating at a speed that has never been seen before. Sharing information, developing a better degree of trust between one another, and fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging are all necessary steps in this process. Leaders in this period of the technology revolution are concerned about the health and well-being of their teams, as well as their professional aspirations, contributions, and achievements, and they invest more time in these areas. It is through this process that leaders are able to adopt a modern mindset, which in turn prepares them to deal with the peculiar difficulties of the twenty-first century. This theory makes use of leadership behaviors, abilities, and traits that can only be obtained and adopted through thorough training and practice.

Leaders will be able to use these abilities to develop the kind of leadership style that is important in today’s world. Leadership in the twenty-first century is fundamentally different from leadership at any other time in history. Developing leaders with new competencies involves more than just a change in the competencies themselves. For example, a twenty-first-century leader is a real connector, capable of aligning employees from vision to execution to profit along a path that connects the results of each aspect so that embedded coherence can be  achieved.  They link the appropriate individuals with the appropriate tasks, as well as the organization with the community and the market. More than anything, they know how to make the customer feel like they’re getting exactly what they want.

These leaders know how to cultivate and foster a spirit of cooperation, since the number of groups, projects, and partnerships continues to grow. Leadership in the twenty-first century requires the ability to sustain the importance of teamwork while also keeping collaboration productive and focused. There will be more overt disagreement as the environment changes and work becomes more collaborative through the linking and disconnection of teams. Conflict and competing demands will arise as a result of high cross-functional demand and transitory and high-agility teams. In order to be effective, leaders must be able to demonstrate that they understand the importance of strategic conflict and know when to intervene and ease it.

Like a conductor of an orchestra, today’s leaders begin with an idea and then put it into action. Without them, the orchestra can still perform, but each member of the orchestra will perform it in a unique way. While conducting rehearsals, the conductor keeps a close eye on the clock and ensures that the musicians are ready to perform at their best. Then, with the help of the orchestra, they bring the concept to life.

An audience may be scared when it comes to performing in public. A conductor in front of a group of musicians may be a great source of encouragement and inspiration. It is common for conductors to serve as inspirational figures who make decisions about the group’s creative course of action. There are a variety of ways to do this, such as picking a new piece of music to play or enhancing one’s technique. Giving motivational speeches or using body language to assure the group that they are doing well onstage is another way to motivate the group. A smile from a conductor may be the difference between a lackluster performance and an explosive one!

The leaders of today are not much different. They will have the abilities necessary to “do,” but they will also require the traits necessary to “be” in order to carry out the personal processes needed to support the operation of the company. Nevertheless, as I have stated on numerous occasions in this book, great leaders need to be powerful decision-makers with a forceful presence that is a voice of knowledge while also demanding accountability from their followers. Advancements in technology are producing an increasingly chaotic and fast-paced business environment, which calls for increased levels of flexibility and collaboration in the workplace, and because of this, teams frequently experience increased levels of anxiety. As a result, those in positions of leadership need to exercise their influence through means other than command and control.

Evolutionary Mindset: Becoming the Agile Leader your organization needs

In the challenging and unpredictably competitive environment of today, leaders cannot afford to be negligent. As a leader, you cannot rest on past successes or laurels in the face of environmental problems, pandemics, and dynamic political and socioeconomic changes. Leaders should not let stale practices from the past stifle their efforts; instead, they must fully embrace their responsibilities as role models for teamwork, accountability, and transparency. 

Anticipating the best course of action, understanding the best approach to motivate your team, putting ideas into practice and assessing outcomes for success is called Leadership Agility. Leadership agility is being able to anticipate change. It entails approaching decisions in the workplace in a proactive rather than a reactive manner. The only constant thing in life is change, and whether you like it or not, technological advancements compel change on a regular basis, which makes it necessary for an agile leader to actively seek out areas where changes are likely to occur in addition to embracing them. Being able to comprehend where changes are likely to occur will be an opportunity for you to compete and even dominate, thereby realizing how It is important to stay one step ahead of it. As an adaptable leader, you must be able to assess difficulties, decide how to proceed, and learn how to create thorough company continuity plans that can be modified and put into action under any situation. The most agile leaders exhibit distinctive qualities like growth mindset, foresight, resilience, and adaptability.

Leadership agility is being able to anticipate change. It entails approaching decisions in the workplace in a proactive rather than a reactive manner.

How can you begin to develop into an agile leader? The readiness to adapt to change is necessary if you want to be an agile leader. This transcends the learning mindset and instead adopts an evolutionary mindset. Being prepared to learn more about oneself, your actions, attitudes, and perceptions. Here are some tips on how to develop into an agile leader.

  • Step out of your comfort zone: Look for chances to push yourself past your comfort zone. The wider your comfort zone, the easier it is for you to adjust to and embrace new events and scenarios, and hence, the more agile you become. Adding something new to each day is a way of stepping outside of your comfort zone. As humans, we are creatures of habit, and our daily routines and rituals wire us into who we are. To start strengthening your ability to deal with change and adaptability, it is advisable to introduce a little change to your regular routine, and by doing so, you will be more skilled at venturing outside your comfort zone for the greater adjustments in your life if you have mastered the smaller ones.
  • Go Outside Of Your Usual Circle For Insight: You must make time to nurture and follow your curiosity at work, make friends with various departments, show interest in what they do and learn about the motivations behind them and offer your assistance on initiatives that are unrelated to your personal interests. 
  • Be the change you want to see: Agile leadership focuses both on promoting and facilitating change as well as modeling that change for others. People are inspired by those who lead by example and actively engage in their own development. Agile leaders practice humility and empathy by acting with compassion, kindness, and care for their subordinates. They work on themselves first before working on others.
  • Let go of the things that don’t work:  Being agile means being willing to quickly drop what is not working and try something else. Agile leaders constantly question their beliefs and presumptions in order to adapt to changing circumstances rather than hold on to a cause that may already be lost.
  • Active Listening: Great minds do not always think alike. In fact, group thinking is the key to coming up with creative solutions to complex problems. There are simple things you can do as a leader to encourage your team, which is by respecting everyone’s viewpoint and actively listening to it even if it differs from your own.

The readiness to adapt to change is necessary if you want to be an agile leader. This transcends the learning mindset and instead adopts an evolutionary mindset.

Anyone called to leadership, regardless of their official title, can develop the traits that make agile leaders stand out with hard work and determination. You will add value to any organization and advance your career by making the investment to become a more agile leader.

There are many uncertainties and unexpected turns in the business world. Agile leaders who are effective and reassuring in their leadership inspire creativity, innovation, collaboration, and commitment while confidently navigating change.