KLab phase 3B – Awareness, resilience and personal leadership

“At its core, leadership is about shaping and shifting how individuals and groups attend to and subsequently respond to a situation. The trouble is that most leaders are unable to recognize, let alone change, the habits of attention used in their organizations.” C.O Scharmer, MIT/Presencing Institute


This section gives you input on four topics

  1. November Leadership Training – The GetHUMAN SCOPE Formula
  2. Awareness and attention
  3. Our “unawareness”
  4. Stress: definition and framing
  5. The GetHUMAN SCOPE Formula – comments and advice

1) November leadership training

Your training exercise is: To further develop the quality of your attention by using the GetHUMAN SCOPE Formula.

The concrete training:

  1. Your first task is to strengthen your inner observer (by noticing and familiarizing your self with your autopilot behaviour and your habitual thinking- and reaction patterns).
  2. Your second task is to reflect and journal so that you raise your awareness about which situations, people or patterns that you need to need to address in your development as a leader.

There is no right way to do this exercise. Some choose to focus on what’s happening in particular meetings or with particular people, others choose to have a continuous focus.

Some tips

  • Keep the SCOPE Formula visible, i.e keep it in between the keyboard and the screen on your lap top.
  • Pay special attention in the more stressful parts of the day or in particularly challenging situations.
  • Notice shifts in your mood (i.e: irritation) and to which degree you feel connected to other people or the task at hand.
  • Notice physical cues like shallow breathing, stomach ache, sweating, and how you respond to others verbally.

The key is to be curious and non-judging to what you observe and to expand your knowledge about your self.

Remember to schedule a dialogue with your commitments partners (the group you worked with in this round)


2) Awareness and attention – the personal responsibility of great leadership 

Developing your inner observer (awareness) and a high-quality-attention will get you almost anywhere in terms of leadership and impact. This “mental skill” (of self-management and self-observation) helps you to counter your:

  • lightning-fast “emotional brain” and
  • resets your not-so-helpful skills of judging and assuming you know who others are and how others think.

Having your inner observer activated when you engage with other people helps you notice:

  • your own thoughts,
  • the effect you have on other people and
  • how you communicate.

Being conscious of your attention and how you direct it (inward and outward) helps you to turn on your genuine and compassionate curiosity and enhances your listening skills.

By directing your listening towards others while at the same time self-manage your attention you do not suppress your own needs, you are simply just aware and accepting of the fact that you have another focus in “this or that” situation.


3) Our “unawareness” – helpful in some ways, harmful in others  

We think thousands of thoughts every day, and research shows that they are mostly the same as yesterday. We can call this our “autopilot” or our “unawareness” and it strongly influences:

  • how we perceive the world around us,
  • how we give feedback,
  • how we create (and recognize) the feeling of mastery in our self and others.

Our autopilot (and our habits) helps us to do many things without consuming to much of our attention/thinking capacity. I.e we often have very effective habits when it comes to tying our shoes, driving our car or doing our job skillfully.

Our autopilot also helps us to see what we have a habit of seeing and it helps us confirm what we already know (helping our brain use as little energy as possible). It helps us to sustain and confirm our experiences, some times even when important efforts, change and development have occurred.

When our autopilot and our thinking habits are allowed to operate without our concsious knowing (without reflection, contemplation, fascination, and curiosity) it can often become harmful; i.e. by maintaining bad habits and shutting down our ability to learn, listen and include other people.

The autopilot is also a central “villain” in the story of how we fail to see other people, their strengths and accomplishments, and how we – slowly without knowing – start taking people we need (and love) for granted.

To become aware of our own autopilot/habitual attention is one of the most important leadership tasks because it directly defines the quality of our:
  • listening, feedback, communication
  • teambuilding, collaboration, innovation
  • sense of mastery and self-worth
  • creation of psychological safety and trust around us

4) Stress 

We can define stress as the gap between the demands we are facing and the capacaty we have at that given moment.

Stress is not by it self something negative, but it is when we do not process it (by ventilating or getting into constructive action) it can become harmful or counterproductive. Suppressed, stress can create

  • chronic illness,
  • lower engagement and
  • help sustain a culture without collaboration and understanding.

An empowering way to view stress is as INFORMATION and an indication that something you hold as important is in a squeeze (i.e important personal values that is being ignored or challenged). By looking at stressful situations through this lens you can more easily get in touch with a healthy, constructive, and collaborative way forward.


5) The GetHUMAN SCOPE Formula – it´s all about noticing and making conscious choices  

Definition: SCOPE: /skəʊp/ – the opportunity or possibility to do or deal with something

Here’s how:

Stop – become aware of the situation you are in. You can also – in advance and as preparation for upcoming challenging events (a difficult conversation, stressful meeting, etc.) – have the intention of noticing expected dissonance or discomfort.  

Calm – take three – 3 – deep breaths. Make sure you breathe all the way down to your stomach. Your inhale calms you body and your exhale calms the head. If possible combine the breathing with releasing tension in your shoulders.

Observe – notice the feelings or the arising of particular thoughts. Name them (by thinking of them) and mentally let them go or write them down. What is present? Boredom? Frustration? Fear? Passion or important values? Criticism? 

Proceed – with presence and a conscious choice. Remember, stress tends to be reduced or vanish when we get into constructive action or view it as information and an opportuiny for something creative. The key is a conscious choice of something that helps the situation. It can be curiosity, compassion, honesty, vulnerability or simply just staying in the situation. 

Evaluate – what did you learn about your self in this situation?  Chose to learn in the situation by calling for a time out or to be transparent with what you are experiencing right now. Or, you can evaluate a little later when you get some distance to the situation. With time and practice you will actiually be experiencing stress and learning from it almost simultaneously.