Emotional Engagement

June 6, 2014
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Donnalyn Giegerich

Donnalyn Giegerich


By DonnaLyn Giegerich

Spring was abloom with lots of leadership training travel this season.

It’s amazing to listen to the unending stories of lagging leadership when it comes to creating highly evolved cultures of creativity and collaboration in organizations. I recently had an interesting conversation with a senior leader who wanted to know how long yoga had informed my presentations on resiliency and professional presentation in the conference and corporate space. He assumed I must be getting a lot of pushback and was surprised to learn that I’ve been busier than ever sharing what I know to be true for successful teams and their organizational leaders.

Here are a few ways yoga informs a leadership style that’s engaging and invigorating for all:

  • Yoga celebrates perspective. Sure, we all need to be accountable for production, innovation and operational efficiencies but at the end of the day, we need to create limits for our work lest it becomes all-consuming. Talk to any human resource manager about the importance and expense of retention and lack of it. Talk to neglected family members that remind you of “too many hours at the office.”
  • Yoga allows us to focus more clearly on what and how to do meaningful work while being mindful of the importance of the totality of our lives. The best leaders long-term understand the importance of limits, work/life boundaries and a fully integrated personal and work life.

Maybe that’s why Silicon Valley has introduced “napping pods” and “yoga and meditation” breaks at their corporate campuses to encourage this notion of perspective around work. I had the pleasure while traveling to meet an executive that shared her title as “culture director” for a tech company out West. Her sole charge was to be sure every employee under her “care” was taking breaks and having fun during each and every workday so that creativity could be supported and prioritized.

Summer Jobs: Working in the Sun

Anybody not want to have fun at work? When I asked what their corporate vacation policy was, she simply responded with the policy as “be responsible.” She shared that employees at her firm were so happy coming to work, that they rarely sought additional vacation time and always did so with their team project deadlines prioritized and discussed collaboratively so that everyone felt valued. Yoga in action!

Practicing yoga and developing a meditation practice also allows employees to remain more centered and calm during a business crisis. Leaders that prioritize self-care and develop their confidence through challenge model self-efficacy for their teams and are generally more pleasant to work with, all other things considered.

Ever work with a reactionary boss with a short fuse? Leaders at all levels of an organization share time and time again that maintaining a sense of equanimity and steadiness at the office is much preferred to the leader that lunges and leaps to conclusions and decisions without full consideration of the entire corporate landscape and the people that power the teams. Again, non-reactionary tendencies equals yoga in action.

Not buying in? Try it a few times and see if you get any pushback from anyone on your team…You may even get an “Ommm.”

DonnaLyn Giegerich MBA, CIC, RYT, keynotes, consults and coaches on integrated leadership topics in the business, wellness and consumer space to empower others. Her work is viewable at www.donnalyn.org. Locally you can find Giegerich providing client care as an insurance pro in Red Bank, Brookdale Community College or hosting Yoga on the Lake Summer Series for stressed-out leaders.


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