in Improvement & Development, Leadership

Mindful Leadership: Productivity and Presence

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On a beautiful morning recently, I was in a park working out. I found myself distracted. While my feet raced in one direction, the mind took another route clogged with thoughts of that meeting in the evening and the numbers that I needed to crunch.

I stopped and it took me a mindful pause to bring myself back into the present moment and acknowledge the blessing that the beautiful morning was!

How often does this happen at work? Leaders falter when they are not able to receive full signals from their surroundings because they are either too distracted or thinking about other things as they listen. Sometimes we are too judgmental and try to read between the lines while missing the actual thing being conveyed. It derails our leadership, intent and outcomes. Technology and endless notifications on our devices make it even worse.

‘Leadership presence’ is often correlated with personality and charisma of a leader. But I think that leadership presence is way more than physical appearance.

‘Leadership presence’ is about:

  • Ability to listen deeply to conversations with openness without judging or reading too much between the lines. (In my experience, deep listening is only the solution people actually need sometimes.)
  • Ability to think through in a systematic way exploring all the facets of solutions, ideas and tasks.
  • Communicating right, using right words and expression to get your messages through in a meaningful way enabling you to build emotional connect.
  • Being fully available, present, attentive and engaged in present moment, conversations, tasks and challenges.
  • Being able to effectively choose the response to the triggers in a way that brings you closer to your intent and goals.
  • Execute with deep focus on the task.
  • Ability to take time to disconnect, reflect and learn.
  • Ability to let go of our “autopilot” ways of working and unconscious biases to question and challenge why we do what we do, and how we do it. Presence enables us to remain curious and ask right questions.
  • Ability to consume multiple and relevant inputs and pay attention to connect the dots – make sense of it all.

Leading organizations, teams and initiatives is all about producing tangible outcomes. Cultivating presence and eliminating distractions boosts leadership performance both in terms of tangible outcomes and intangible outcomes.

How you produce an outcome is as vital as what you produce and why you produce it.

What do you think? 


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In the Photo: Norbulingka Monastery, Dharamsala, India