Aikido and Leadership in Business
Forbes Recommends Aikido
I’ve been practising Aikido for the best part of 20 years now, but in many ways I still struggle to put its benefits off the mat into words.
I have friends and fellow practitioners who have taken Aikido principles into schools and police forces, court rooms and boardrooms, as indeed do I in my Corporate Workshops.
But I still struggle sometimes to explain that “Yes, it’s a martial art. But, No. It’s not really like the image that conjures up”.
I was delighted therefore recently, when somebody pointed me at this article on Forbes.com, the renowned business magazine.
The article is highlighting a business book on leadership drawing from Aikido principles.
In the article the author emphasises three elements of Aikido that they feel are valuable in developing leadership:
- To be fully present
- To be adaptable
- To make a contribution
I would completely agree with this, and I would add in lessons I’ve learned in Aikido that apply to leadership such as:
- The value of diversity. In Aikido the richer and more diverse training our experiences are, the more we learn and the better we get. The same is true in a business environment.
- The value of confidence - not clashing. In Aikido the more we have confidence in our techniques better they are, and we learn that confidence by practice. But we also come to understand that when we don’t cooperate with our partners our learning stops.
- The value of connection. In Aikido it is vitally important to connect with our training partners. By doing this physically we learn to seek this connection at a deep and non-verbal level. In business to creating a genuine connection is a great way of leading, and taking people with you.
What does Aikido look like?
You may be wondering at this point what on earth Aikido actually looks like?
Well in business, it might look like the person who avoids conflict and brings people together.
But if you like to see what it looks like in the dojo, here is a short video of me practising. It was put together a couple of years back as part of a promotion for a seminar I was teaching aimed at beginners in Germany. At the fantastic, community focused, dojo: Aikido Oberursal.