As a leader, what are you searching for? More profits, a better product? The way forward? I want to challenge that. I think what you are searching for, as a leader, is something more elusive; it is something you may not have ever heard of. What you are searching for is the state of Flow, both in yourself and in your teams. Let me explain.

Flow is the “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best,” Based on research by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and others, Flow is that place where we are so into a task that the clock is quiet, our creativity expands to meet the challenge, and our results skyrocket. We all have experienced Flow at one time or another in our lives, maybe you have when you were participating in a sport, writing, reading a good book, or building furniture in your workshop. Simply put, Flow is that state where we are all at our best, our bodies and minds so into the groove that success unfolds inevitably in front of us.

As a leader, is that not what you are seeking? What would be possible, if you were at your best in the meetings with your team and your customers? What if each of your team members was able to bring their best selves more regularly to their jobs – engaged, creative, and fully present when they were working on projects? What if your team could leave their egos at the door and find the greatness in one another? If everyone experienced more time in Flow, wouldn’t success naturally follow?

I want to share with you three places for you to start tapping into flow as a leader.

  1. Conversations: You find Flow with others in the conversations that you have. When you make effective requests that create mutually beneficial relationships, you open up the possibility of Flow. When you listen so well to your teammates that you can hear their concerns and ensure that their needs are taken care of, you enable Flow. Language is the fundamental tool for us as human beings and as leaders, and the key to opening the gates to Flow.
  2. Moods and emotions: You find Flow when the moods and emotions you create and live in are powerful and uplifting. When moods and emotions such as gratitude, ambition, joy, fun, wonder, and possibility rule the day, the likelihood of reaching the Flow state increases.To sustain those moods and emotions, you as a leader must embody them, and become the antidote to all of the negativity that drains Flow from others.
  3. Body: You are not a brain on a stick. Your brain is part of a limbic system that creates moods and emotions. If your body is tired, worn down, unhealthy, Flow will rarely be achieved. The more your body is healthy, upright, and open, the more you can share Flow with those around you. Your body is not the reflection of the moods you are in, it creates them, and as a leader, the more you live in a body of high potential, the more Flow will show up.

Today is a good day to start your journey to find the Holy Grail of leadership; Flow. The sooner you begin to understand it and are able to bring it to life in your company or institution, the more quickly your organization will begin to fulfill your and its highest aspirations.

Also check out these posts on Flow:

Do you experience Flow as a leader?

The modern CEO: A journey to self mastery

Five ways to hack Flow as a leader

About Croft Edwards

Croft Edwards, MCC, leadership coach and speaker, is a thought leader in the field of leadership and organizational change. He is the President of CROFT + Company, a global leadership and organizational change firm with clients spanning the spectrum from oil companies and manufacturing firms, to government entities and non-profits, to small businesses and start-ups. He has coached hundreds of leaders at all levels of organizations from front-line supervisors to CEOs and Social Entrepreneurs. His speciality is the study of LeadershipFlow, the melding of the emerging study of Flow with the field of Ontological Coaching which looks at how leaders show up in their use of language, moods and emotions and the body. Croft is also a retired Army officer with a decorated career as a command and staff officer in the United States Army, both active and reserve.


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