Learning to train a horse has been challenging at best. I am learning that my communications must be clear and when they aren’t bad things happen. These bad things can be something as simple as the horse continues to walk or as bad as him bucking.
As a leader we often feel that we are saying the right words and asking for the right actions, however are team members don’t seem to react the way we want. We get angry, we lash out, we punish and we still don’t get the results we want. Why is this?
Well let’s take a step back, you are meeting with your team either in a group or 1×1. You ask questions, maybe about what’s going on in their day to day life, maybe about specific work topics. However, do you really hear the answers, do you see or feel the way the person answers. Are you present?
Being present means being aware of what you are thinking and feeling in that moment. Are you able to really listen in that moment or are you distracted by a deadline or other conflict. Simply being aware of what you are feeling actually puts you in the moment. This isn’t an easy shift it requires us to actually stop for a moment and focus on what we are doing, hearing and saying.
Your goal for this week is to spend time gaining awareness of being present. Change is something that happens in stages, you can’t simply jump to being aware. At first you will have to physically think about being aware. After each conversation think about if you were aware in that moment. Think about little things like how did the person look, what were they doing with their hands and face.
Next think about how you felt in that moment. Were you calm, anxious, thinking about dinner or the dogs?
Now the next time you have a scheduled meeting think about the people in the meeting, what might they be dealing with, how can you hear them. When you go into the meeting mentally prepare yourself to be present in that moment. Think about the room, or the call, turn off your email (shocking I know) and focus on the meeting and try to not think about dinner. BUT when dinner comes into your mind mentally say, I am here for this meeting dinner will be dealt with after. If needed make a note on a piece of paper – Dinner – and then mentally go back to your meeting.
Being present means that we don’t allow other ideas to come in, this isn’t easy! This means we have to acknowledge those other thoughts and then move back to the present.
Eventually you will get to a point where this action is more automatic. You will be able to be present in your meetings and conversations.
Good luck and let me know how you were present this week.