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Tapping leaders into New Year energies

Tapping leaders into New Year energies

22nd January 2023

As a leadership mentor and coach, I’ve come to appreciate how triggers for professional and personal growth can come from anywhere - if we’re open to them.  And for many of us, early in the calendar of Lunar year is when we take time to reflect on the positive changes we want to bring about for ourselves and those we influence.  

Last Lunar New Year, I facilitated an executive strategy session that started with this activity:  I asked the diverse group of execs to reflect on the significance and characteristics associated with the Year of the Tiger (as it was then) and what it meant for how they wanted to show up as leaders, how they wanted to lead individually and collectively, and what it meant for the actions they’d take in the likely tumultuous Tiger year to come.

Responses to the activity varied widely.  Some were familiar with Chinese wisdoms and found it easy to relate.  Others regarded it as a bit of fun, while one shared scepticism about the “lack of science” 😊. No matter the orientation though, the responses were highly self-reflective and surprising in the degree of candour and feelings of connection they created.  

What followed was a meeting with unprecedented openness and levels of psychological safety, and a year that was characterised by leader courage, care, focus and action, all against the backdrop of a really challenging year.  (Not to say that there’s a direct and/or sole causal link here, but it certainly opened up meaningful conversations that might otherwise have been missed!)

With the Lunar New Year of the Rabbit now here, you might like to run a similar activity with your team and see what shows up.  So what might this year have in store?

The Rabbit represents longevity, peace and prosperity.  Rabbits are known for being peaceful, patient, trusting, caring and easy-going, for creating harmonious relationships, for thinking things through before acting, and for being creative. While they might not traditionally be associated with "strong leadership", they certainly can bring a more reflective, calm and considered energy often required for effective leadership today.

To make the most of this year of the Water Rabbit (water symbolises fluidity, adaptability and intuition), we’re encouraged to:

  • Approach challenges and opportunities calmly and rationally
  • Tap into our inner wisdoms, trust our instincts and be more in tune with emotions
  • Strengthen relationships, connections and networks with those around us
  • Let go of rigidity and embrace adaptability
  • Flow with the changes and seek more innovative solutions to obstacles
  • Trust others more, yet still provide support and check ins
  • Make healthier choices and take care of ourselves and others
  • Communicate more effectively and handle conflicts with greater skill and diplomacy
  • Create work environments that are both productive and harmonious

So the questions to trigger insights for your leaders might be:

  • What might the above characteristics mean for how you want to show up as a leader this year?
  • What does it encourage you to dial up or down in how you engage?
  • What 1-2 actions will you take to build more of this into how you lead?

Love to hear what turns up for you and your leadership teams - and if you'd like me to run this activity with your leaders, or talk through a different leadership topic, just drop me a note!

Wishing you and yours a peaceful, prosperous, healthy and creative 2023 Year of the Rabbit.  Gong Xi Fa Cai!

With thanks to for the inspiration.

Elisa Hukins

Leadership, Talent and Workforce Advisor, Strategist and Coach

[image credit: Dru Kelly, Unsplash]

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