“People that want to make self-care a big part of their leadership and a big part of themselves, need to start believing in the mindset that you can perform absolutely at your best and when it really counts, if you take care of yourself.”
Our international theme continues here on The Culture of Things (TCoT) with an episode which just so happens to be one of the conversations which has had the biggest impact on me since starting this podcast series.
Today we welcome Sean Smith, the New Installations Director for Schindler Lifts in Singapore, to talk about the importance of self-care for leaders. With a tagline on his LinkedIn profile which reads “creating workplaces where people go home happy” it will come as no surprise that Sean’s passion sits with helping the next generation of leaders get ahead in the corporate world. He has a clear leadership philosophy which involves being present and focused on supporting the team.
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In order to be operating at your best when your team needs you, Sean uses inspiration from his sporting background by following a rest and recovery routine. Experience has taught him that if you continually grind for weeks, or even months at a time, you risk developing injuries and your performance won’t peak when it counts. It requires a high level of energy to inspire a team as the alternative, being agitated, tired and frustrated, isn’t going to instil the confidence or trust that you have ‘got their back’.
It was Sean’s Father, who led larger teams in the corporate world, who was responsible for his first interest in leadership. Sean grew up listening to stories about ways to motivate and engage teams to perform better, feel more motivated and produce better results. He was also educated on the impact toxic people have on the overall culture if they are kept around too long.
Sean took these learnings with him for his raw leadership role as a Lieutenant for the Artillery Division in the Swiss Military, a mandatory not voluntary role for all men, where money and titles were not key motivators. During this time Sean was required to process exactly how to help make life ‘just that little bit better’ for the servicemen while they were somewhere they didn’t actually want to be.
It was his next role, at Jardine Schindler Group in Jakarta, where Sean really gathered momentum and had the playground to experiment, learn from his mistakes and develop new strategies which he is now utilising in his current role in Singapore.
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Committing to a self-care routine is the key to developing and sustaining the amount of energy required to lead and support a successful team. This requires learning how to balance and manage your time effectively and, in order to make this commitment to yourself, you first need to establish the right mindset. A mindset which believes that you can perform absolutely at your best when it really counts if you take care of yourself and, is best supported by surrounding yourself with people with similar beliefs.
It is imperative to break down the barriers around self-care being a weakness. In this episode Sean explains exactly how to confidently communicate and be transparent in how you are committed to taking care of yourself. It is not unreasonable to assume that by doing so, you have the ability to build a culture where self-care is seen as a strength and this should be encouraged.
Are you a leader who is available to your team 24 hours a day and is desperate to break this routine, regain some balance and learn what it takes to hit the office firing-on-all-cylinders?
Join us as we hear what Sean means when he talks about self-care, along with the boundaries he has set to achieve these personal goals. We explore how Sean continues with his self-care routine during the challenges of COVID where, in the city of Singapore, he has been working from home for three and a half months.
As Sean’s father, I realize now how attentively children listen and how much they retain. Quite amazing!
The interesting thing to perhaps reflect on is that during school years the emphasis is on traditional studies: Maths, physics, chemistry, history, literature, foreign languages, etc. This leaves most young adults as they enter business learning through their own experiences (including mistakes) what it takes to set themselves up for something which will be a huge part of their life…..and unfortunately as it often is, nobody thought of passing on experiences from the previous generation to give them a head start.
Sean says I passed on experiences, but this was more by accident than by design; a result of my passion for human interactions in business.
If I had the time again, as a parent of children, I would try to share more consciously relevant experiences to encourage thinking for the step in life that comes after academic studies….and what a Darwinian jungle it can be….luckily humans stand out in the animal kingdom in their ability to impart knowledge….the important thing is to actually do it.
Hey Ken, thank you for taking the time to share your comments and reflective thoughts. I’m sure you’re very proud of Sean – as you should be. All the best.