‘The future is a concept that does exist. There is no such thing as tomorrow. There will never be, because we only ever experience the NOW’ – Alan Watts
I’ve had many conversations this week with clients about how important it is to be present – in the moment – and to develop openness to whatever comes. I wanted to share with you a common challenge that appears on regular basis with clients, albeit in different forms!
A large proportion of my clients are solicitors, accountants, finance leaders, technical experts and in these professions there can be a predominance of a more methodical, planned, systematic approach to leadership (and indeed life).
Therefore there is a tendency to plan, evaluate, analyse – all great stuff, however leading people is a completely different ball game. There’s building relationships (especially with those that are different or challenging to us), resolving conflicts, motivating, inspiring, performance management, talent retention, communication…to mention but a few.
I believe one of the most effective skills in leadership is the willingness and ability to flex your style according to the context. This can be a huge challenge as we all have our own style and sometimes going against the grain can be way out of one’s comfort zone.
Here’s the thing, when I go into a conversation with a ‘plan’ or indeed a preconceived idea of the result a few things can happen in my mind:
- I’m hooked into a particular outcome, including how the other person should be responding. This has become a demand rather than a hope, and as a result, whatever I get that doesn’t exactly match my demand I am more likely to reject or dismiss
- I’m stuck in my mind, rather than being ‘present’ to the conversation or indeed the other person in it. My mind is off evaluating, analysing every word or indeed planning what to say next – and as a result I miss what is actually happening
- I’ve made assumptions about them (or their circumstances) and as a result I’ve already dismissed what may or may not be possible
The consequence of all this in the bigger picture is when we are attached to an outcome, including making assumptions or demands about how someone responds – we are not present to what IS right here, right now in front of us.
Question is: in this demand, this attachment, will I really be open to alternatives or innovation?
So here’s 3 ways to practise being more present in your conversations and thus your leadership:
- Self Observation – start practising observing yourself and your mind. Practise noticing when you have travelled off into the future
- Breathe – when you notice you are ‘in your head’ and not present, take a breath and reconnect with the person in front of you and what they are actually saying
- Check-In and Check Things Out – check-in with what assumptions you may be making…are you really listening? Concentrate on listening, not to respond but to understand what is right here, right now in front of you. Be courageous and check out those assumptions
‘When you change your behaviour, you create the ability to change how people respond to you’
Learn how to release those demands on the future, yourself or others and change your behaviour – for the long term. Step into the unknown and commit to finding out how those little changes can make a big difference in your leadership.
Join me in a FREE 1hr 1:1 coaching discovery session to discover how your greatest challenges can empower your greatest growth.
I can’t wait to hear from you…
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