Attention Leaders – These Three Moves Will Solve Most of Your Problems

In my last post, I shared the opportunity Authentic Courageous Leaders leverage when they honor and explore the reactions of others, as well as their own. In this post, let’s talk about how organizations can create contexts that reduce the reactions themselves. In fact, these three leadership moves can melt many of the triggers that incite reactions.

These three moves are:

  • Increasing the space of presence
  • Deepening intimacy
  • Being rigorous with your commitments

Increasing the space of presence

More and more I hear things from my clients like, ‘we don’t have enough time to get everything done’ or ‘every day we are running flat out.’ In actuality what they are saying is ‘there is no space to take a deep breath or reflect.’ And yet, the fundamental nature and most consistent experience of being human is space and presence! What do I mean by this? No matter what is going on for you throughout your day and no matter how preoccupied you are with all that’s on your plate – there are two things that remain consistent in our experience:

  1. You can’t-do anything about what happened or what’s going to happen; you only have this moment. And when you miss this moment you are less productive
  2. There is always an aspect of you that is observing what you are doing, and this place of presence and silence is already, always there! The key is tuning into it and allowing it to guide you.

It is your thinking that tells you that you do not have enough time or that you must take a particular action. And when we do not engage the underlying power of presence, we end up on automatic pilot and are more susceptible to reactions. Many of which likely will not serve us!  Thus, a huge move for business executives must be turn back towards their most profound power of simply being aware.  This is why I insist all of my clients integrate a sitting practice to start their day and mindfulness practices throughout their day.  Neither takes much time and both pay huge dividends.  And without exception, I have never had a client regret consciously engaging presence in this way because when they do it always leads to better decision making, stronger relationships, and lower stress.

Deepening Intimacy

Are we ready to truly meet the other human beings that walk into the office every day? At work, the deliverable is king. However, the heart of productivity is our relationships.  After all, it is the conversations that emanate from our connections that leads to our commitments.  Ultimately, the quality of our execution aligns with the quality of our commitments.  In our personal life, our significant connections are not driven by deliverables. Love is the context and what we get done together is the content. When we remain present, listen and communicate we not only get things done, we deepen the intimacy! I propose we bring this lesson into the workplace. And there are many examples of organizations that have succeeded. Think about the last time you took a late afternoon flight home on Southwest, and one of the stewards sang a song or cracked a timely joke. This authentic expression typically gets the whole cabin smiling. And oh by the way they get you there on time!

To deepen intimacy means we begin to treat those at work with the same level of respect and care that we do those in our personal relationships. And Authentic Courageous Leaders create opportunities for both modeling and encouraging it.

In the end, it (leadership) is about truly caring for every precious human being whose life we touch. It is about including everybody, not just the fortunate few or the exceptionally talented. It is about living with an abundance mind-set: an abundance of patience, love, hope, and opportunity. Everyone wants to contribute. Trust them.”    Bob Chapman, Chairman, CEO – Barry Wehmiller

Being Rigorous With Commitments

In short, the more present we are to each moment and the more intimate we are with our workmates, the more efficient our execution will be. The transmission point of action is our commitments. But let me ask you: At work, what percentage of the time does a request come back to you, exactly as you expected, the FIRST TIME?  The answer that I most consistently get is between 5 and 10 percent of the time! When I get higher percentages than this, I find that the culture, team, and relationships are always positive and uplifting.  In addition, organizations tend to be better at some commitments more than others. When I work with executives and their teams, I share that there are five primary commitments we must make to boost performance.  These five areas include commitments for:

  1. Accountability on deliverables
  2. Relationships and improving them
  3. Decision making (who makes them and at what level)
  4. Addressing breakdowns and conflicts
  5. Integrating feedback loops that foster learning and innovation

Final Words

If leaders and their organizations bring focus to each of these three moves, we will not only reduce the drag on effectiveness; we’d create the level of engagement we all crave. The most significant obstacle to deploying these moves are the misunderstandings that we do not have time to slow down to engage them and if we take the time results will suffer. Paradoxically if we took the time, we’d generate more value and have some time left over to smell the roses.

About the Author David

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