Philosopher Aristotle coined the phrase, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” which suggests two things: (1) that “the whole is something else than its parts,” and (2) that it’s “more effective to interact and work together rather than individually.”

Many individuals cite this idiom to emphasize criticality or attain “buy-in” for a specific project or goal. For example, when a leader needs to bring together multiple disparate teams and persuade them to collaborate for the benefit of the collective. In these cases, aligning people under a shared purpose among various priorities, motivations, and emotions is no easy feat.

Watch out for personal agendas.

Agendas can be tricky. Sometimes, they create meaning by providing organization and structure, like a meeting or project schedule. However, in other instances, when a person becomes attached to their proposed agenda, it may cause more havoc than good. For example, when their behavior turns rigid—consciously or unconsciously—shifting the conversation and focus away from the group’s best interest.

Some signs that your personal agenda has taken hold are when you’re feeling angst and frustration like you’re “pushing uphill to get your point across” or want to scream, “Why is no one getting “it!” When you sense this occurring, step away so you can recalibrate and evaluate the situation holistically using your four mental functions.

Embrace an adaptive mindset.

The ability to self-regulate your inner and outer environment and set boundaries that ground you is essential to embracing a more fluid approach so you don’t fall victim to your survival instincts.

Here are five ways to remain agile at work:

Revisit the “why.”

When you become too invested in your way, losing sight of the overall goal or outcome is easy. Your strengths, aka higher expressions, can easily crumble, possibly turning your assets into liabilities. There are many ways to get from “point A” to “point B,” so think through what is most important. A more cooperative approach can inspire and empower others and showcase your leadership potential.

Assess what’s triggering you.

There are usually warning signs inside you that can show up as tension, tightness, or discomfort in your body and as distractions, blankness, or ruminating thoughts in your mind. Before acting or reacting in a state of distress, reflect on the situation so you can process how you feel rather than push the emotions aside. Then, when ready, choose how best to proceed from a place of calmness and clearness while being situationally aware to know whether others are ready to hear what you have to share.

Stay open and present.

The ability to pivot in the moment is a talent. Managing your emotions effectively while being aware of the energy and vibe flowing in the environment around you are proficiencies you can cultivate. Broaden your perspective by asking questions to understand the other person, their reasoning, and their conviction to find common ground. Ask yourself, “Are there additional ways to accomplish what you’re looking to achieve?”

Embrace professionalism.

Being emotionally mature means knowing your value and understanding your natural tendencies. It also means that you strive to be at your best and are resilient in the face of adversity. You don’t need to control all aspects or prove your point to others. Instead, you’re articulate and refrain from reacting aggressively. When you’re open to new possibilities, you expand your thinking and can be patient.

Stabilize your system.

Focus on your breath and place your feet on the ground to remain present and centered. Allow whatever needs to surface within yourself without judgment. Then, organize and prioritize your thoughts and trust your instincts for the next steps. Self-regulation isn’t always about being calm and knowing how to respond in a given situation. Many times, it’s about accepting what-is, creating balance within, and bouncing back fast when things don’t go the way you expected.

The path of advancement takes practice.

As you become more aware, you can make adjustments in your behavior to increase your agility and resilience and improve your mindset. When you become less fixated on the final outcome and more attuned to what is happening in your nervous system, you can pause more frequently and operate more effectively.

Deepen your perspective to activate your best.

As a lifelong student, certified professional coach, and consultant, activating the best in others through self-leadership, interpersonal relations, and team dynamics are passions of mine. My approach is personalized and customized, tapping into various assessments, disciplines, modalities, and techniques. To learn more, schedule a call with me.

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