Citatet kommer fra en af mine yndlingsdigtere, Nayyirah Waheed, og siden jeg første gang læste det for lidt over et år siden, har det siddet fast i mig. Næsten som et mantra. For netop når vi forbliver åbne, imødekommende, lyttende og ja, bløde, så opstår der noget særligt mellem os mennesker. Når vi smider jernskjorten, så får nærværet bedre kår, og vi træffer bedre og mere velovervejede beslutninger. Og så er vi generelt sjovere at være sammen med når ikke vi har paraderne oppe hele tiden.

Løver på kontoret

Men det er lettere sagt end gjort. Min egen oplevelse som leder er, at man ofte tyer til jernskjorten. Den er let og hurtig at få på når presset stiger og ofte føles det (i hvert fald umiddelbart) godt og trygt inde bag den. Og forklaringen skal findes i hjernen. Nærmere bestemt i det hjernecenter, der hedder amygdala.

Amygdala er lavet til at spotte en løve på savannen i Afrika og associere den med fare. Og det er den rigtig god til. Så snart amygdala spotter en fare, så sender den besked, og det sympatiske nervesystem går i arbejde. Og desværre er det ikke sådan, at vi bliver mere sympatiske når det bliver aktiveret. I stedet kunne man også kalde det vores kamp-flugt-system. Når det aktiveres, øges blodtilførslen til de store muskelgrupper, kroppen anspændes, pulsen øges, den taktile sans nedsættes, din empati svækkes, dit tillidsniveau falder, der bliver pumpet adrenalin ud i kroppen og vi gør os klar til enten at slås med løven eller at stikke af i en hulens fart.

Det er jo rigtig smart, hvis vi faktisk møder en løve på savannen. Men der er en mindre anvendelig tilstand i et normalt kontormiljø. Ikke desto mindre bliver vores amygdala aktiveret ofte på en dag. Det kan være en svær samtale med din chef, det kan være et udfordrende møde eller det kan være mængden af deadlines, der tårner sig op. Men en ting er sikkert, når vores amygdala er aktiv, så har vi svært ved at forblive åbne, rolige og lyttende.

Opskriften på åbenhed

En god måde at berolige det sympatiske nervesystem og i stedet fremme åbenhed er opfundet af en amerikaner ved navn John Friend. Det er utroligt simpelt. Du skal sætte dig i en stol, placere dine hænder et sted, hvor de hviler roligt, lukke dine øjne og så skal du stille og roligt gennemgå tre trin:

  1. Grounding: Mærk sædet du sidder på og dine fodsålers solide placering på jorden. Mærk den grounding det giver dig.
  2. Vejrtrækning: Til sidst fordyber din vejrtrækning. Se om du kan fylde lungerne helt med luft, så du får en oplevelse af, at din mave udspilles en smule og at luften bevæger sig helt derned.
  3. Afspænding: Så afspænder du ansigtet. Både kæber, øjne, pande, halsmuskler og dine læber. Se endda om du kan afspænde dine tindinger.

Sid sådan i 30 sekunder. Åben da øjnene og mærk, hvad det har gjort ved dig og din generelle tilstand. De fleste vil opleve en øget ro i kroppen og en øget åbenhed overfor deres omgivelser.

En kort daglig praksis

Min opfordring til dig er derfor, at du mellem hver af dagens møder, gør det til en fast vane at mærke efter om dit sympatiske nervesystem er på overarbejde lige nu. Og hvis det er, så luk døren og brug et minut på Opskriften på åbenhed inden dit næste møde. Jeg lover dig, at det vil give dig bedre møder, gladere kolleger og klogere beslutninger.

PS. Hjernens mekanismer er selvfølgeligt lidt mere komplicerede end, hvad der er plads til i et kort blogindlæg som dette. Læs Simon Krohns Nærmere Noget, hvis du vil blive endnu klogere på amygdala, det sympatiske nervesystem og hvad du kan gøre for at berolige det.

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