Leaders’ ability to be fully present affects the quality of their work

Dennis Sparks

“Present moment, wonderful moment.”

Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh offers that affirmation as a means to live a more centered and peaceful life.

The affirmation also offers a compelling challenge to leaders whose ability to be fully present as much as possible throughout the day is a hallmark of effective leadership.

Just as it is essential for students to be engaged in learning, so too it is essential for leaders to be truly engaged in the activities of their days.

When leaders’ attention jumps rapidly from one thought or activity to another, their effectiveness diminishes, as does the satisfaction they receive from their work

Here are a few examples of times when leaders’ undivided attention is likely to make a significant difference in the quality of their work:

During one-to-one conversations and in meetings leaders practice committed listening. They fully attend to the words and meaning of the speaker rather than rehearsing what they will say when the person ceases speaking.

During moments of solitude at the beginning of the day or before important meetings leaders center themselves by focusing on the values and intentions they wish to express.

At the end of the day leaders reflect on the day’s events to determine what they learned and how that learning might affect future activities.

Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us that the present moment is the only one we have. Leaders’ ability to be fully present in those moments will determine not only the quality of their lives but the quality of the experiences that others have with them.

Question: What do you do (or wish that you did) to be fully present and engaged in the day-to-day flow of leadership activities?



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