I have a really hard time being present.
I catch myself thinking of the multiple ways to solve the problem at hand, add value to the conversation, or even take over so I’m now the focus of attention.
I see others make connections effortlessly. Eye contact, empathy, tone of voice, it’s like they were born to help people feel this valued and appreciated!
For me, it’s more of a learned skill.
I’ve found it’s worth the effort to stay on track with a person or a group. The value of engagement is worth SO much in trust, loyalty, and commitment from your colleagues.
Being present to the people you work with and seeing THEM in the midst of the work priorities is a leader’s competitive advantage.
- It says you see people.
- It says you notice.
- It says ‘you’re more than work to us’
- It says you can bring your whole self to work.
- It says we value the real you.
There are two ways you can be more present this week and build better connections with your team and in your team.
Be more interested
This is golden advice from Good to Great and Jim Collins where he said his world changed when he decided to be more INTERESTED than interesting. Being interested has others as the focus, being interesting has self as the focus.
And no one has time for the person who is in it for themselves, it’s tiring to know it’s just a tick in the box without any real authenticity or intention. People can smell your intention, if it’s all about self it doesn’t last.
Practice Third Gear
In our leadership training, we use a tool from GiANT Worldwide called the 5 Gears. It’s a metaphor for how to be present from the most focused (Gear 5) through to the most personal. (Gear 1 is Recharge Mode.)
Third Gear is Social Mode. Social mode is the deliberate practice of connection at work. Building positive relationships with your team and work colleagues is essential and a competitive advantage for leaders.
Social mode is taking time in the workday to take the time to notice, understand and connect with teammates in a way that Task Mode (Gear 4) doesn’t normally allow you to do.
Social mode is after-work drinks, Friday lunch, celebrating milestones and enjoying the victories. It’s recognising contribution and effort as well as understanding and connecting more deeply with one another.
Social mode is deliberate in the sense that you don’t talk about work, you talk about life. Share what you did or are doing on the weekend, your next holiday or how it’s all going for your wider family or circle of relationships.
A leader’s competitive advantage is being present to the needs of their team, making time for connection and appreciating people beyond work.
Try it on. It changes the game.
What one habit can you STOP doing that would help you be more present and attentive to your team this week? Dial up the discipline
This is for leaders. I am for leaders.