Having a keen sense about the world around you is critical for leaders who want to show up and be responsive for their team. In its simplest form, understanding your surroundings requires us to “notice,” and when we have the habit of noticing, we stay tuned in to the needs of our people. The problem is that noticing, and a consistent ability to be situationally aware, takes an extreme amount of energy and focus. Because of this, the human brain likes to relax when we feel things are normal or that we understand something that we haven’t totally digested yet. We tend to do our best “noticing” when we encounter something new…or something that we think is new. Even then, we typically allow the new experience to drain our senses versus fueling them. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
The facts are clear. Noticing more can be energizing versus depleting; noticing more can help us to stay positive; and, noticing more helps with speed and productivity (Langer, 2016). The following 3-minute challenge is meant to help you get better at noticing so that you can be a present leader in your organization.
Being a present leader, one who notices the details of each interaction closely, requires practice. It’s not that some leaders are better at being present and others just aren’t. It’s that present leaders practice the skill. That’s what leading better and growing faster is all about. You can take the following challenge to improve your skills.
- Reflect: What is one thing that you are scheduled to do this week that you feel is pretty normal for you? This is something that you don’t need a lot of planning to be able to execute. It could even be something that you feel is mundane.
- Identify: During the activity you selected above, identify one, two, or three new things about it. Especially in a time when “everything” seems new, these new experiences shouldn’t be too hard to enumerate.
- Do: Look at each of the items you identified in Step 2 and decide how to react to the new insight. It might just be using a mindset of forgiveness if it’s something that someone else did or said that upset you, or it might be that you need to reach out to someone to do a quick check-in because of their body language or facial expression.
Pro Tip: When addressing something that you “noticed,” start the conversation with “I noticed that…” That gives you an opening to ask questions about perspective. Present leaders notice more but they also seek perspective before casting judgement.
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