This post will be short and sweet. Why? Because if you’re like most people, your attention span is pretty short (so I included a video). After all, you have a lot going on!
We all have our own unique way of viewing the world.
Everything you experience passes through this filter, and your perceptions shape how you think and feel about, and behave in response to situations.
We tend to attract into our lives what we focus on and pay attention to. You’ve probably heard of the self-fulfilling prophecy: If you expect something to happen and focus your energy on it, you’re more likely to get the experience you expected (whether positive or negative).
We also have a tendency to selectively look for data that supports our belief systems–this is called a confirmation bias. That’s the reason that we choose to pay the most attention to the things we care about and are interested in. It’s also why people often feel their ideas and solutions are the best (and they might ignore other perspectives).
So, what does this have to do with leadership? Everything.
Leaders often operate based on assumptions (past experiences) and selectively attend to information. Leaders also try to do many things at once (multitask).
This isn’t necessarily because they don’t value the opinions of others or try to shut them down, but largely due to constantly trying to manage high-volume workloads and “save time.”
These strategies, while used frequently, can hurt relationships and negatively impact engagement and productivity.
People spend as much as 70% of their daytime hours in a semi-conscious state [of distraction].
You might think this doesn’t sound like you. Maybe you feel you’re engaged and that you are aware of all the nuances in your environment and interactions.
You might feel that you’re good at multitasking and can easily do several things at once with no negative effect on your performance.
(Related: The Myth of Multitasking)
Disagree? Watch this video as a quick test of your attention.
Were you surprised by how you performed on this attention task?
Your main job as a leader isn’t to go to meetings, send emails, or dictate tasks. Your job is to show up in a way that creates an impact in the lives of those you lead.
But how much impact can you have if you’re not ENGAGED and PRESENT?
I specialize in coaching leaders to increase both their engagement and ability to see situations from different (and more positive) perspectives so they can proactively respond rather than react to events.
This helps the leader and his/her get more done with less effort and stress!
True leaders are engaged.
The best way to demonstrate respect when you talk with people is to be fully present.
This means giving someone your complete and undivided attention. Period.
We’ve probably all been guilty of multitasking when someone needs our attention. We read emails, answer the phone, and are just generally distracted at times.
A simple solution when you have a visitor at your open door and you’re in the middle of something is to ask permission like this, “Can you give me a minute to finish up my email so I can give you my full attention?”
When you’re engaged in what someone is saying you not only show them how important they are, but you hear more so you can help them take positive action.
One coaching client noted that a brave employee pointed out that when the leader was “done” with a conversation, his face went into “screen saver mode.” That was his wake up call.
People can tell when you’re distracted. Be there–not just physically, but emotionally and intellectually as well.
Practice being more engaged at work, with your kids, with your spouse or significant other and watch the results!
If you want to increase your engagement and productivity, schedule a Complimentary Discovery Call with me today!