How present are you in your day-to-day interactions?
It’s easy to let distractions (both online and offline) prevent us from being fully present in the moment. When we’re not present, we can’t give our full attention to the conversation or the task at hand. As a result, we aren’t able to give our complete effort to anything, and miss key details or opportunities. While this already sounds like a bad thing, it’s even worse in the case of leaders.
I often find myself completely distracted by emails, texts, slack messages, Instagram notifications and so much more — you could easily spend an entire workday just responding to notifications and getting nothing else done. I see my coaching clients struggle with it all the time, too. No one in school taught us how to manage our time while dealing with all of the technology distractions of today.
I notice this problem more and more often these days, especially when I see people glued to their phones during meetings. I’m not sure if they’re texting their friends, looking at social media or answering work emails, but what I do know is that it’s 100% rude to look at your phone while someone is speaking in a meeting. Plus, it’s a great way to miss key details of what was discussed.
I’ve learned to put my phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode or leave it in a different room entirely during meetings or while I’m working on important projects. It’s so hard to do something that requires a lot of concentration when you’re constantly stopping to check your emails or messages.
A great strategy I’ve adopted is scheduling time in my day to answer notifications instead of answering them one by one as they come in. I try to get to work a few minutes early so I can answer my emails or texts that have come through overnight. When I implement this strategy, I’m much more present in meetings and interactions with my team throughout the day.
It’s so important for me to be a present leader at work. When my team can see that I’m present, engaged and am ready to help them, it boosts morale and reminds them of how important their contributions are.
Here are three qualities of a present leader:
- They turn off distractions (phone, email, slack, text and social media notifications) during meetings or critical thinking times.
- They practice gratitude every day. This practice helps them stay grounded and appreciate all the great things their employees do, rather than focus on the things they could do better. They focus on what’s going right.
- They go into every situation wanting to help others rather than helping themselves. They ask themselves how they can help their employees rather than get more out of them. They realize the more they pour into their employees’ lives, the more they’ll contribute at work.
Are you giving all of your power to someone or something else? A boss, a deadline, a coworker or a problem at work?
As entrepreneurs, it’s our nature to think of the future and what we need to do to expand our businesses, but we have to stay mindful of the present and be grateful for where we are now. Practicing gratitude allows us to give our full efforts to the present.
Part of being present is clearing your mind. Daily meditation, quiet time or yoga is a great way to do this. Many successful leaders start their day with meditation and gratitude.
The next time you go into a meeting, look around at your staff. Are they present? Are you setting a great example of being a present leader? Remember, leading by example is the most powerful thing you can do.
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