Preoccupied. Distracted. Unfocused. Disengaged. We all know that leader. The one who comes in, makes a few demands, pretends to listen to the needs of the team, and runs off before anything gets done. The employees resent them, deadlines are missed, and retention is low.
The best gift a leader can give their team and themselves is the act of being present. Harvard Business Review recently “surveyed more than 1,000 leaders who indicated that a more mindful presence is the optimal strategy to engage their people, create better connections, and improve performance” (Harvard Business Review).
So, you’ve made the choice to be present. How do you get there?
Focus on your team. The best way to increase your presence as a leader is to take the focus off yourself and place it on others. Ask questions and actively listen. Encourage your team to lean into their strengths and help them overcome their struggles. As a leader, “It’s your responsibility to show up and be fully present to effectively use the limited time you have with each person you meet.” (Harvard Business Review)
Using mindfulness, or “paying attention to the present moment in an accepting, nonjudgmental way” can help (NY Times). Before heading into a meeting, take a deep breath and center yourself. Ask your staff to do the same. Decide how you’d like to present yourself and whether you’ll appear scattered and indecisive, or powerful and persuasive.
Quiet the inner critics. At the root of presence is confidence. In an article titled “Improve your Leadership Presence”, the advice is to “Take note whenever your inner critic begins to show up with negative or self-deprecating thoughts and ask yourself, is this thought useful?” (HNS News). By questioning and eventually silencing your inner critics, you can turn your attention to your team.
While some of the world’s best leaders make leadership presence seem effortless, it is a deliberate practice which takes daily work. But at the end of the day, all the work is worth it when the outcome is reduced stress, higher engagement from your team, and improved relationships.
Here is a link to a free assessment that identifies how you are self-sabotaging:
https://www.positiveintelligence.com/assessments/ Stratengy is here to help you navigate being a great leader in today’s world. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help you and your team be engaged, productive and working together.