In a previous article we talked about how to invite more self-awareness into your leadership style.
Presence and awareness are traits of some of the best leaders because they are more connected to and aligned with the needs of their team.
In this article, we’ll talk about more specific and practical steps you can take to truly be there for your team.
Presence Takes Discipline.
Discipline is nothing new to you. Otherwise you wouldn’t be in a leadership position — you don’t just “wind up” being a C-level executive. It is the culmination of years of discipline and focus.
You probably have certain methods or processes that work for you and keep you disciplined and committed to your work.
Use that same discipline in your efforts to be more present with your team.
Leaders have an endless list of responsibilities and priorities, but your team doesn’t need to know about all of them.
If you’re jumping between meetings, on and off calls, etc., don’t bring that energy into each and every interaction. Approach each interaction, each meeting, each call on a fresh page.
With practice and discipline, presence becomes a habit, not a chore.
Notice the Little Things.
Many leaders get so wrapped up in big picture ideas, that they fail to recognize the importance of the “little things.”
For example, all leaders want their employees to feel fulfilled, satisfied and appreciated, right?
So, what are you doing to make those things a reality?
You might think a generous compensation package, monthly catered lunches, or other such “perks” are enough, but people innately crave personal connection.
Make it a point to get to know your team members. Learn about their personal lives, their families, their hobbies, their passions — and remember them.
If your employee’s favorite baseball team won the game last night, congratulate them the next day! Small interactions such as this may seem minute, but are truly more meaningful and memorable.
Hold the Space for Others.
Sometimes what your employees need most is someone to hear them out.
It is not always necessary for you to offer a solution, give advice or solve a problem. Simply holding the space, creating an environment where your team members feel comfortable coming to you, is exactly what they need to feel valued.
Presence helps people solve their own issues; which is exactly what you want, right?
Employees need to be heard and understood. Never underestimate the power of connection to solve problems.
Try “Presence Posing.”
We’ve all heard of power posing, the idea that by assuming a position of power, confidence or any such emotion will naturally be translated into true emotion, simply by physically embodying it.
The same principle can be applied to “presence posing.” Before going into a meeting with an employee, starting your day or some activity where your presence is key, take a few moments to practice personal awareness.
If you’re thinking this sounds a lot like meditation, you’re probably right!
Sit down and feel the present moment. Don’t think about the future or the past — live in that exact moment. Notice bodily sensations; your pulse, your breathing, the feeling of your clothes on your skin.
When it comes time to interact with your team, deploy the same mindset. Don’t anticipate the next words to come from their mouth or how they may have reacted in the past — take each moment as face value and savor it. That is true presence.
Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you practice presence, the more natural it will be become.