pillars-197x320This pillar of the Eureka Leadership™ model seems quite obvious at first glance.  Being present is about being there, being connected, listening intently, actively and artfully.

Being present means that you are aware of ‘how you turn up at work’.  I don’t mean how you get to work, by car, by train etc; I mean, rather: what kind of emotional wake are you bringing in with you when you walk in the door and how does that impact your ability to be present?

Leaving your personal baggage at the office or workplace door isn’t necessarily a practical solution. All of us have private lives, our own internal dramas that keep us functioning and make us who we are.  This includes our family, our friends, our loved ones, our view of our work mates, and our model of how we are making sense of the world right now.

Being present relates to your willingness — your ability to sift through the minutia of these various factors — to ‘be there’ for your team when you are with them.  Do you turn away from your computer when a team member walks into your office to ask you a question?  When you talk on the phone to one of your team, do you listen actively to the call, or do you have half an ear or even all your attention somewhere else?

When you unconsciously try to ‘get away’ from someone by ‘hurrying up’ a conversation, a question, or some kind of interaction, a surprising cascade of responses unfolds.  The person you are communicating with will generally unconsciously sense your lack of attention and will often ‘push back’ and find ways of digging in to make the communication last longer. Getting their point across becomes paramount, and they will work harder to try to get you more present. The result is that you both will be left unsatisfied.

How can you be more present?

  1. Practice your listening skills.  Look up the meaning of the words ‘active listening’. Think about what those words mean and how you can practice them artfully.
  2. Reduce distractions.  Technology is hindering our ability to connect as much as it is helping it.  Are we saving babies here for a living?  Is that phone call or email a life-or-death situation?  If the answer to either of the previous two questions is no, then make sure you are consciously paying attention. If you don’t, you may find your team to be feeling less certain and less valued, which will impact productivity.
  3. How much do you personally know or care about your team members?  What can you recall about their loved ones?  Actively demonstrate caring about their lives a bit more authentically to demonstrate a better sense of ‘being present’.


my mind