Why human connection and self-reflection are essential for any good leader

Human connection is our number one intention when we bring groups of leaders together. When we look up and connect with others, wonderful things happen to our brains. It is one of the things I hold most dear when doing leadership programs with groups in Nepal. 

Most humans naturally love being together. We enjoy the lovely chemicals that we share when we are together to feel connected and a sense of belonging. Spending nine days with a group, we start to synchronize our brains too. With the development of shared values, the group builds cooperation and understanding. This builds trust, compassion, creativity and bravery. 

Our programs in Nepal are designed to shake things up a little and give participants a new take on their work and lives.

Imagine it: no emails, phone calls, notifications, WiFi, electronic diaries, online distractions and social media. A digital detox is a brilliant way for leaders to experience Nepal, to reconnect with what is important to them and to reconnect with humans. Our participants enjoy it so much that they are slow to reconnect again when they are again allowed to. 

Spending time living and trekking in a mountain village at 2,600m above sea level humbles you. We live structured lives, but nature is always changing. Out there, mother nature is in control and you need to respect the mountains. She will have the last say.

Our leadership programs are designed deliberately on a broad framework rather than a strict day by day agenda. Initially, some people find it hard, but with encouragement and time, they learn to surrender control, live with fewer expectations or agendas and go with the flow. They learn to trust our team and then thoroughly enjoy the surprises. 

There are no disappointments as there are no expectations. How often do you feel disappointed because your expectations were not met? Did you stop to consider if they were realistic and achievable? Surrendering expectations is a wonderful skill to develop. 

In Nepal, you are not a mother, wife, colleague, CEO, manager or friend. You have no role to play except to show up in the present moment. No cooking, washing, housework, shopping, school drop-offs, homework, social events, meetings, interruptions or work. Just you. 

Who are you without all these distractions? The opportunity to disconnect from all of this and rediscover yourself is a gift. Each leadership program provides time for daily group reflection to allow participants to realise what is important and to think about where they are at in life. 

We live and bathe ourselves in nature in a mountain village for three days. Nature clears your vision, changes your attitude, and makes you think of the real worth of living. In fact, nature therapy is now being prescribed by doctors as medicine. Participants come away from the mountain time feeling a little happier, a little healthier and can breathe better. 

We also focus on building spiritual literacy. In the western world, we are in spiritual poverty. So many of us seek more clarity on our life meaning and purpose and want less of a focus on materials and job titles that bring short term satisfaction.

Throughout our programs, we meet and learn from a selection of Nepali people that inspire leadership for the greater good and display values of humility, courage, love and kindness. 

Participants are also encouraged to turn down the voice of judgement, fear and cynicism and draw on the strengths of compassion, courage and curiosity. We run workshops with Nepali women to deepen our connections, find our human commonalities and add value to each other. 

It is these human connections and opportunities for reflection and development that give leaders the time to heal, develop spiritual understanding and become more awakened leaders. 

By Katrina Webb

As a sporting legend, Katrina Webb is no stranger to a Gold medal podium or a star-lit stage. She has received awards and medals most athletes only dream about. Despite this success, her journey hasn’t always been easy. Katrina is an international speaker, leadership and personal mastery consultant, trainer in wellbeing and resilience, and a physiotherapist.

 

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Women and Leadership New Zealand