It happens every year. What do I do with that gift? You know the one that just doesn’t work for you. Perhaps you can regift it, sending it down the line, or just return it for something else. Either way, that makes you and the gift giver feel awkward.
A Better Idea
How about a better idea for this new year? How about a gift that everybody cherishes and keeps? What is that gift? It is the gift of your presence. Being present for someone—in person physically; fully engaged mentally; and in tune emotionally with what is really happening around you. It’s harder than you think, and it’s more valued than you will ever know.
Coming out of the holiday season, you already know what that means when you are with your family and friends. But what does your gift of presence mean when you are at work? What does it mean to a leader?
Walk the Floor
Being physically present means showing up, even when you don’t want to.
In 30 years of business leadership experience, I’ve never heard an employee say, “It is better for me to go to see the boss than for the boss to come to see me.”
Nearly every employee engagement survey points out that employees want management to be visible—certainly their direct bosses, but also executive management—all the way to the CEO. People want to feel connected to upper management and they want upper management to understand the issues they face in their jobs.
As a leader, when you “get out and about” to visit your employees, you are no longer on your turf; you are on theirs. That’s when the conversations change. You will learn something about them, and they’ll learn something about you.
When you take a walk around the shop floor, the design lab, the operations center, the loading docks or the back-office cubicles, you demonstrate that your employees and colleagues are more important—at least in that moment—than everything else back at your desk.
Give the gift of your physical presence this year. It will be noticed and valued.
On Our Watch
Social media, electronic devices and information feeds are everywhere. The temptation to look away or be mentally elsewhere is so powerful that it distracts us from just about everything. It distracts us from driving and makes us get in accidents. It distracts us from the people right in front of us who so desperately want and need our full attention.
When you are with your team at work, are you mentally present? At all times? We all have distractions. But I ask you: Is that distraction more important, at that very moment, than what you are really doing?
Being mentally present means being fully engaged in what is happening now.
This year give the gift of your mental presence.
Trust Your Emotions
Business schools teach leaders to govern emotion, temper impulse, trust research, and base our decisions on fact and logic. We are taught to keep “messy emotions” out of it.
Yet, we all know that people act on emotion. We might make decisions logically, but we act and execute on emotion. That is why we read the brochures with all of the specifications after we have already bought the car. Our garages are full of emotional decisions, not logical ones.
When it comes to taking action and carrying out our business plans, emotions are more powerful than logic. People don’t charge hills because of a business plan or strategy. They are moved to action because of passionate, connected leaders. People will reach pretty deep and give their all when they feel really connected with a great leader.
Connecting with people is central to the action plan of being emotionally present. We must reach people’s hearts as well as their minds. When we can make the emotional connection between the hopes and ambitions of the company with what people want to experience in their own lives, we will reach new heights.
Being emotionally present is the greatest gift that you can give your team this year.
Real Presence is the Real Present.
This new year, give the gift that everybody keeps? Well, they just might return it, passing the gift of their own presence on down the line. That would be really cool.
Wondering Where to Start?
Check out the new book, “Must Be Present To Win.”
Perhaps somebody in your life needs to hear this message. Give the gift of this book to them this year.
It can transform your effectiveness at home and at work. It can magnify your influence. It can change lives, including your own.