by Justin Sipher
[Today’s Tuesday Reading is from Justin Sipher, Program Leader, Leadership Coach and Consultant at MOR Associates. Justin may be reached at email@example.com.]
Our lives, modern technology, pervasive connectivity, and even our culture lead us towards attempting to perpetually multi-task. I have certainly been guilty of this personally and professionally. However, we are not always aware of how our multitasking is negatively impacting some of the work we do, and the people we are engaged with at that moment. I am sure you have faced this. You can tell when the person you are interacting with isn’t really there. Isn’t fully part of the conversation. Isn’t truly listening. Isn’t present.
Think about a time that you were in a work meeting and the person you were engaged with wasn’t present, whether technology induced or not. What were you feeling about their commitment to the task, the importance of the relationship, to you? Maybe you were frustrated you invested time and they had not. Maybe you spent a lot of time preparing to make the case and it wasn’t received. Maybe you needed some advice or feedback. Maybe you needed to hear about a challenge, or something that is going really well. Regardless, it may have left you feeling cheated and discouraged about how your time wasn’t valued. I am sure as a leader you do not want to give that same impression to others.
In our MOR programs we talk about how a leader is always on stage. That includes being present when meeting with others. Knowing that we should be present is a start, and self-awareness is most helpful when it leads to self-management. Here are five ideas to help increase your ability to be present.
Being present is not only important for those we engage with. It’s also important for ourselves. My high school football coach and I reconnected these past few years after about three decades since having a coach-player relationship. His path in education and coaching led him to be a principal and superintendent in K-12 education. He is now retired and doing coaching and leadership consulting. Needless to say, we have lots to talk about given my work leadership development work with MOR. Last summer I was talking about my multi-tasking of podcasts and exercise while training for a backpacking trip. While not uncommon he suggested from time to time I do the exercise while just being present and not trying to consume other content at the same time. I did it and was shocked at how enjoyable it was. I can’t remember the last time I was out by myself like that without earbuds in. I was truly present. It reminded me that I needed to help train my brain to appreciate being present SO THAT when the time came I could be present with others. In short, my old coach became my new coach and gave me that insightful gift, or present. Thanks coach!
This Week’s Survey
What is your biggest challenge with being present?
|From Last Week
Last week, we asked: What do you find most helpful when you begin to sweat the small stuff?
While many of us employ each strategy, the survey shows being kind to ourselves and taking a break can be the most helpful. When we are heads-down in a task it can feel like we need to keep driving through. However, a break – whether a few minutes, a few hours, or longer – can give us the space and perspective we need to be even more effective than if we would have simply pushed through.