Leaders are typically expected to do things by the book. Following routines, filling out spreadsheets, and handling data - everything is a tried-and-true routine. But what about stepping outside of the norm and showing a little spontaneity? Listening to that inner intuition can ensure an innovative and agile business environment.
IT’S THE IMAGINATION AGE - TIME TO CULTIVATE THE ART OF BEING SPONTANEOUS
When you sit in meeting after meeting and answer email after email, your brain is likely running on autopilot. You aren’t going to be very agile when new problems or projects are in front of you if you ALWAYS do things a certain way. To stay competitive in today’s business world, you have to be innovative and ready to respond. Embracing spontaneity can help you find that spark of creativity again.
One of the problems with repetition is that you get bored, and your mind starts to wander. A recent study highlighted the dangers of working while you are ‘out of the loop,’ or running on autopilot. Researchers point out that this phenomenon occurs especially in automated environments, which can lead to dangerous situations (Gouraud, 2017).
Even if you don’t work around automated or robotic equipment all of the time, as a leader you still likely have many repetitive tasks. To help combat this kind of fatigue that can lead to problems and accidents, try to open your mind to being spontaneous.
HOW CAN YOU BRING THAT ELEMENT OF THE UNKNOWN INTO YOUR WORKPLACE?
To increase your agility and mix things up at work, start to listen to your intuition. That inner voice usually won’t steer you wrong. If you are unsure of how to implement spontaneity at work, consider these tips:
- Listen to your inner self. Your intuition is a powerful thing, if you don’t continually squash that little voice. Even if you don’t want to blurt out something you randomly think of during a meeting, it might be worth coming back to when the time is right.
- Take notes. If you have spontaneous thoughts, write them down if you can’t immediately talk about them. Otherwise, you almost certainly will forget, and that spark of an idea may be gone forever.
- Share the spontaneity with others. Encourage others around you to also share their spontaneous ideas. Think of it as brainstorming, if that helps. You want as many creative and innovative thoughts as possible.
- Take the time you need. When you do things outside of the regular old routine, they may take longer. Don’t worry about this time too much, because great things are never going to happen if you don’t challenge the status quo. Also, give others this time if they have an inspiring moment.
- Give spontaneity value in your life. If you find value in your spontaneity you will be more apt to continue to have these thoughts and to implement and act on them. If you don’t value them, they will fade away, like a forgotten sweater or an old sandwich. Your intuition is important, so don’t automatically discount those thoughts as fanciful or unrealistic.
- Don’t be afraid to dream big. Spontaneity may lead to ideas that you never deemed possible, because of logistics, or the rules of physics, or other limitations. However, what kind of world would we have if we never reached for the moon? Or dreamed of flying around the Earth? Dream big. Even if your idea would be better in a thousand years, it’s still an exercise for your mind.
FIND A LEADERSHIP MODEL THAT EMBRACES SPONTANEITY
Like anything else you might purchase or consume in life, leadership models are not all created equal. A model that motivates you to be agile and adaptable to various situations is ideal. The is based on neuroscience, and it can teach you how to listen to your brain and how to function optimally - physically, emotionally, and mentally.
“Our spontaneous action is always the best. You cannot, with your best deliberation and heed, come so close to any question as your spontaneous glance shall bring you.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Spontaneity isn’t a naughty word, and being a leader is more than simply doing things by the book. You want to inspire those around you, and give them the opportunity to listen and cultivate their intuition. Your own intuition can be an invaluable asset, so don’t automatically silence those thoughts. Write them down, ruminate on them, talk about them, and give your spontaneous musings a chance to lead you and your organisation to greater success.
Gouraud, J., Delorme, A., Berberian, B. (2017). Autopilot, Mind Wandering, and the Out of the Loop Performance Problem. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 11, 541. http://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2017.00541