The Power of the Pause in Successful Leadership

The demanding pace for leaders has never been more challenging. Digitally connected every moment, we are increasingly tied to a 24-hour global clock. This is the “new normal.” We are expected to perform continually in the face of crises and multifaceted pressures, including downsizing, mergers and the accompanying stresses and expectations. The list of demands, personal and professional, never ends.

  • Could it be that going faster and driving harder are not the answers?
  • Could there be another way to sustain high performance?
  • Could it be that the source of our real value as leaders might come from different thinking and different choices rather than from perpetuation of the incessant pace we strain to maintain?

How often do we miss small but significant moments—opportunities that can unlock our hearts and minds, open us and connect us more deeply with others and the possibility of creating something new and different? Too often, we get carried away by our busy-ness. We are too hyperactive, too reactive to notice hidden, value-creating dynamics waiting beneath the surface within us and around us. Tethered to our smartphones, we are too caught up and distracted to take the time necessary to focus our attention, sort through complexity or locate submerged purpose.

In our urgent rush to get “there,” we are going everywhere but being nowhere. Far too busy managing with transactive speed, we rarely step back to lead with transformative significance.

>> Pause—a step back to lead forward—is a transformative, pragmatic, albeit paradoxical principle for sorting through complexity and coming into conscious connection with what is important.

Why would pragmatic, hard-charging, achievement-driven leaders pause in order to accelerate performance and growth? Put simply, that is exactly what is needed to sort through complexity and drive performance to the next level. If leaders today do not step back to gain fresh perspective and to transcend the immediacies of life, we will continue to crash economically, personally, and collectively. Our downside survival and upside innovation depend on it. Certainly, we need to do more to meet the demands of high-performance, complex problems, and innovation, but in today’s world the doing needs to be new and different.

The Pause Principle is the conscious, intentional process of stepping back, within ourselves and outside of ourselves, to lead forward with greater authenticity, purpose, and contribution.

Kevin Cashman, founder of LeaderSource, an internationally recognized leadership develop program and author of The Pause Principle, develops these thoughts into Seven Pause Practices. This value-creating methodology engages more examination, higher-order logic, rational analysis, profound questioning, deeper listening, higher-quality presence, broader perspective, greater openness to diverse thinking and input, and ultimately more influential, innovative action.

>>Download Kevin Cashman’s Pause to Lead Forward manifesto here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Cashman

Kevin is a best-selling author, top-ten thought leader, world-class speaker, global CEO coach and pioneer of the “grow the whole person to grow the whole leader” approach to integrated leadership development. He is the founder of Executive to Leader Institute® and the Chief Executive Institute ®. He also founded LeaderSource, recognized as one of the top three leadership development programs globally. In 2006, LeaderSource joined Korn/Ferry International, where Kevin is now Senior Partner, CEO and Executive Development.

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In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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