At the end of April the LEAP YOUth Cohort 2022 finished the first Module of the program. During the 10-months journey, participants go through 5 modules following the Inner Development Goals framework to explore the 5 main dimensions of conscious leadership: Being – Relationship to Self; Thinking – Cognitive Skills; Relating – Caring for others and the world; Collaborating – social skills and Acting – driving change.
From march to april they have explored the dimension BEING – Relationship to Self. This module’s structure was related to acknowledging and working on our relationship with ourselves, supporting participants to comprehend and practice the qualities of presence, self-awareness, inner compass, integrity/authenticity and openness/learning mindset and how these qualities and capacities can enhance leadership.
They could learn and exercise the different topics and skills experiencing different program elements as online input webinars about strengths and values, a hands on workshop on leading well from within: understanding how our brain works and practicing mindfulness, facilitated peer groups to get together and exchange insights and a 3 days onsite kick off meeting with different BEING exercises for the hybrid cohort.
All the LEAP elements are facilitated by experts, professional coaches, LEAP alumni volunteers and the LEAP project team. The sessions are interactive and experiential, engaging full presence and participation. The sessions might include for example contemplative practices such as meditation, to help ground participants and get them ready for other inner and reflective practices.
One example of an exercise from the BEING workshop was a reflection where they were asked to think on how a leader was perceived and which characteristics they embodied, recognizing leaders’ skills, “ways of being”, and capacities. The reflection was first made individually, and then an exchange took place where ideas of participants started to intertwine and expand into robust reflections.
“For me the qualities that I have seen in leaders I have encountered are: first, leading by example, which means that all of their inner qualities are being embodied in a coherent way, their actions, and words. Secondly, a general energy that I feel from them which is relaxed but in control at the same time. And a third one, being open and having the willingness to always learn, but being assertive, for example, when you talk to them you feel really listened to, and that your opinions are respected and you feel they want to learn more, but at the same time, whenever they might have a different opinion they will be assertive and create a space to evaluate the options accordingly.” –Ana Karen Cota, participant
Another important topic discussed during this session was the work of Dr. Daniel Friedland, the author of Leading Well from Within: A Neuroscience and Mindfulness-Based Framework for Conscious Leadership. Being a leader is being able to recognize your emotions and how they can impact your process of thought and consequently your behaviour. Being aware of negative feelings such as fear, could help us have the capacity to evaluate our being during a certain moment and create space to understand where we are coming from and if that can take us to the goal we aim for as leaders. In a cycle of reactivity (no self- awareness), different actions and words could be triggers and expose negative feeling in a relationship, on the contrary, being more mindful, pausing, noticing and choosing how to react could serve us to always be able to create more positive relationships and space to choose a more aligned way of being in accordance to what is happening on the present moment with a sense of openness and curiosity.
Together with carefully designing the program elements, the LEAP team is also making sure to continuously listen to participants and how they are benefiting from the program or if it needs changes, evaluating the impact of LEAP to be able to adapt and best serve this powerful community of change-agents. As part of our evaluations, we were excited about some of the participants’ perceptions from the first module – BEING:
“I think this module impacted me in several ways. It somehow made me more calm and self-aware. I feel like I am getting to know myself even better which is such a good feeling. I can’t say it often enough how important self-reflection is and how great it feels to also talk about it with others. The module also taught me to become a better listener and I really appreciate that. Overall, I had such a good time during the onsite event in Graz and I am so so grateful for this opportunity and all the great and inspiring people I get to meet.” – Antonia, participant
“This module was very useful for me and I can already see that I am implementing the knowledge I got in my personal life. Especially finding out my strengths was very helpful for me, because now that I know them, I can see clearly the path I should take and ways to use them”. – Marija, participant
“I found the Being Module very interesting. With the help of this module I have learned a lot of techniques regarding the relationship with myself and to others, to open to other people, to ask powerful questions and also to identify my own values. I found the topic of “Inner compass” very important. These are just issues that I hadn’t given much thought to before the LEAP Program. It is very important to understand what my values, strengths and purpose are and how they drive and impact the whole.” -Noemi, participant
“Getting to understand that self awareness, presence and openness are some of the things that make a being, I got to develop how to express myself. The breakout room sessions created to interact with other participants from a different background has opened a part of me that has been closed for quite some time. This got me to understand better my being as well as that of others”. -Abubakar, participant
“Thanks to this module I noticed that being clear and frank about who I am is not only affecting the satisfaction level of my decisions but it is also better for working in a team where people can rely on me because they trust and respect me for my openness”. – Max, participant
“I absolutely love the peer group calls, we learn a lot from each other and our facilitator is just amazing and shares a lot of his knowledge and experience with us”. – Anna Müller, participant