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Chris Hardy

Treeka Consulting

Consultant and Director

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Three ways to become a regenerative leader

How to nurture your team in a more sustainable way.
istock-502735520

‘Regenerative Leadership’ can be another meaningless buzz term if we’re not careful, but what does it mean from a management perspective? This article explores three simple ways your management can become more regenerative. 

Let’s start with a definition: To regenerate means to be ‘restored to a better state’. 

The term is more often used to refer to agricultural processes that restore biodiversity and support healthy ecosystems. This is a great metaphor to hold in mind; if our management is to be regenerative then we want it to be restorative, and to support the healthy flourishing of everybody involved.

Let’s consider three ways you can become a regenerative manager.

Looking after yourself first

Many managers, especially those newly appointed, focus on their reports, their goals, their team; this is all well and good, and these are essential aspects of good management. A crucially important factor that’s often overlooked, however, is the need to nurture their own health, to act regeneratively towards themselves. 

This means, when thinking about work, asking what would be needed to ensure that we remain healthy over the long-term. 

Think of your reports as plants, or fields that you want to nurture in a regenerative way.

Do your managers take enough breaks? Is their diet and sleep supporting good working practices? Have you got enough social and emotional interaction going on through work or is hybrid working unsatisfactory? 

If we’re not careful, we have our head down and we can be overly focused on the details of the piece of work immediately in front of us. Becoming a regenerative leader means looking up, taking a step back, and inquiring if we are working in a way that maintains our health.

Key takeaway: Try asking yourself, ‘am I working in a way that supports my own overall health and wellbeing over the long-term’?

Bring a regenerative perspective into how you manage your reports

Great management takes into account the entire individual sitting in front of us. We’re aware that this person has a wide variety of needs and we’re comfortable to work with them to ensure their needs are met and they can do their best work.

You can do this by asking about wellbeing and mental health, managers can generally be braver to speak about neurodiversity within the workplace, to welcome diversity and inclusion into their conversations. 

To become a genuinely regenerative manager is to consider the entire system that you work within; this is like having awareness of the ecosystem that you are part of. 

These essential aspects of people’s experience of work will ensure your team feels that they belong, that they are supported and understood, and that they are able to bring their best work to the table.

To build on the agricultural metaphor from above, you can think of your reports as plants, or fields that you want to nurture in a regenerative way. We often focus on the output of our teams, the things they do and the fruits (work) that they create. Good management would also observe the necessary inputs and support structures that somebody needs in order to work well. 

Key takeaway: Ask your reports; do you have everything that you need to work in a healthy way? What could I do to support your overall thriving?

Broaden your awareness to take a regenerative approach towards the entire business

One of the most frequent desires of leadership is that their management level work with better financial acumen. This means that managers are often overly focused on their team without taking into account the vision of the organisation, the broader financial implications of their work, or how their team fits into the wider system of the organisation.

We want to nurture the entire individual in front of us so that they can be like a healthy fruit tree that produces a wonderful harvest. 

To become a genuinely regenerative manager is to consider the entire system that you work within; this is like having awareness of the ecosystem that you are part of and being able to nourish and contribute to all parts of it in a healthy way. 

This might mean that you occasionally cross-pollinate between departments, you consider how the success of the different departments are all intertwined, and you act with a broader awareness of company strategy in meetings. 

Key takeaway: What can you do to support the entire organisation to become more healthy and robust financially? 

A holistic approach

Many good managers are already working in a regenerative way. Remember, we want to nurture the entire individual in front of us so that they can be like a healthy fruit tree that produces a wonderful harvest. 

Consider all the different factors that go into supporting the all-around health of an individual, a team, and an organisation. 

If you can weave the three key takeaway questions into your weekly work flow then you will be on the path to becoming a genuinely regenerative manager.

If you enjoyed this, read: Five inner capacities for ethical leadership.

Author Profile Picture
Chris Hardy

Consultant and Director

Read more from Chris Hardy
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