Resiliency of leaders has become an important topic in recent years. In fact, it is not uncommon for leaders who attend training programs to engage in an exercise where they are encourage to take a walk with their peers about their challenges and successes maintaining their energy to face the demands of leadership. So often participants describe the value of movement and their surprise at how much they shared with their partner. This phenomenon occurs so frequently that it cannot be a fluke. So what it is that makes walking and talking so powerful? Is it the reduced pressure of sitting face-to-face and having to converse? Or could it be the freedom of movement and connecting with one’s environment that allows us to be more open and vulnerable?
In my humble opinion, these factors and many others contribute and in reality, I would rather not analyze the why in this case and just appreciate that walking and talking works. It allows for more open dialogue, greater connection with the other, and ultimately enables us to come to know ourselves more fully.
As I read, Dr. Bill Anton’s blog National Father-Daughter Take a Walk Day is July 7, 2015, I felt pressure. As a clinical psychologist I know well the importance of father-daughter relationships and their impact on a child’s development. I am the father of two girls, ages 7 & 9, and enormity of the impact I can have on them quite simply makes me feel vulnerable. I seek comfort by soliciting feedback from my wife and reading the reactions my girls have when we are together. I feel the best way to ascertain if I am serving my daughters well is to learn more about myself and how I impact them so I can adjust as needed. I will take comfort in knowing that they like to go on walks with me now. I certainly hope that is still true when they are teenagers!
I hope that you consider adding “walking meetings” to your schedule with those you lead at work and maybe more importantly your children.