Psychological first aid strategies for senior business leaders


Our previous blog indicated the definite need for ‘psychological first aid’ for business leaders. So what options exist? Fortunately a great many. And a lot that can be self-managed.  Let’s look at a few.

Start a ‘master mind’ group.

This is a group four or five like-minded people who meet regularly face to face, by conference or Skype for not more than an hour. It starts with each person sharing the best thing that’s happened with them that week. Each person then gets the opportunity to share the most important challenge they are dealing with and invite helpful advice from the other group members. It generally ends with a short expression of gratitude or prayer for the opportunity of helping each other. This is immensely powerful and I have been a member of a master mind group for over five years.

Adopt a positive ‘morning ritual’.

Get up an hour earlier to put this in place. Mine involves 20 minutes of meditation, 5 minutes of gratitude for all the great things in my life, 20 minutes of reading or watching something inspiring and uplifting and 15 minutes reviewing my goals and planning for the day. This gets you in a great frame of mind to start the day. Do whatever appeals to you.

Get physically active.

There is extensive research evidence indicating the huge benefits of exercise to both our physical and mental health. And we’re not talking about running marathons. 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 times a week. It can be yoga, walking, swimming, gyming or whatever takes your fancy. When I’m physically and mentally drained, an hour in the gym and a sauna is a great revival strategy.

Get a coach.

Most very successful people in all walks of life have a professional coach. Can you think of any elite sports person who does not have a coach? Coaching has become an everyday practice in business and life in general. A great coach can help you clarify goals, resolve challenges, release debilitating negative emotions and generally be more resilient and successful. Even though I personally do a lot of success coaching, I have my own coach who I value greatly.

Continue learning.

I firmly believe that if we are not learning faster than change is happening, we are going backwards. Take a leadership programme, stay a jump ahead in your profession, learn a foreign language – just do something that interests you and keeps you learning and sharp.

Take a break.

India has an insane work ethic where 24/7 is frequently the norm. We feel guilty if we are not working. Again there is extensive evidence that this behaviour is totally counter-productive. Many of the best and most business innovative ideas come when we are relaxing and at peace with the world. Many sensible and highly successful people are following the 6 / 1 rule. Six days working & one day off, Six months working and one month off! It works wonders. Probably beyond contemplation for India workaholics!

Develop a support network.

Many people find it very useful to establish either formal or informal networks of like-minded people that they can associate with, develop friendships and maybe collaborate with for the social good. Examples include organisations Rotary.

Do it now!

Whatever strategies work best for you, I encourage you to start immediately. The longer we wait the worse the challenge gets. And the less likely it is we will do anything at all.

I appeal to you to simply start with whatever works for you and share your experiences below.

About the author

Ron McLuckie - Ron is Chairman & Chief Executive of WIAL India which he established in March 2012 and serves on the global board of the World Institute for Action Learning. He is a highly experienced international consultant and Action Learning authority. Ron has held senior executive roles in major organizations, senior lectureships and led a number of international consulting companies. His special interest is in developing skilled leaders who can drive business success and bridge the ‘knowing/doing gap’. His passion is challenging the conventional development approaches that do not work and finding effective ways of developing people and organization capability. He is also a proud granddad of three grandsons.

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