Being Present


by John Keyser

Highly effective and adaptive leaders are present and aware. They value emotional intelligence, they practice the skill of listening, and they commit to being in tune with their feelings and those of others.

They hear what people say—and what they do not say—and they listen for a sense of what people really want and why. They have learned to quiet their minds, to listen without personal agenda.

When these leaders cultivate their ability to be present, they take satisfaction in their team’s success, in resolving a difficult situation or having a difficult conversation. They enjoy when those with whom they work explain how they are striving to be the best version of themselves or share a creative idea that excites them.

These leaders realize that relationships founded on trust and respect with their team members are gifts, as are the genuine conversations that create these relationships. By genuine, I mean when they come out from behind themselves to be honest, even vulnerable, without putting on airs.

Befriending silence is valuable, but it is also difficult. One tip is to reflecting during times of transition or alone time, for example, when we wake up or retire in the evening or on our daily commute.

In some faiths, we are encouraged to use such times as an honest examination of our self, e.g., “How good a person am I? How could I become the best version of myself? Am I willing?”

While, of course, it is most admirable to use these times for reflection about the overall life we lead, we can also take a little time, (even five or ten minutes can be effective), to contemplate our leadership.

For example, let’s ask ourselves: “Am I encouraging, helping, mentoring and coaching to the best of my ability? As a servant leader, does my satisfaction and success come from the satisfaction and success of my team members?  Am I striving for my own continuous improvement, as I should be? Am I asking for ideas, advice, input and feedback, realizing that this is a sign of strength?”

We must remember, kindness is motivating. So, yes, business is crazy busy these days, but our relationships are everything. No matter what our field, we are in a people business and our relationships are all important.

The best leaders are servant leaders. They understand that relationships with their people are a top priority, and they take the time to be present, to have meaningful, helpful conversations and to listen without personal agenda.

1 Comment

  1. Very valuable article

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