Leadership and Presence

Have you ever had the experience of sensing in yourself that you’re not fully present with the person you’re talking to? Or maybe you haven’t noticed it in yourself but you’ve sensed that the other person wasn’t fully present?

I’ve noticed that when I get too busy, it's harder to be completely engaged with any one thing. When the dust settles, my attention is again drawn to the subject of presence and engagement.

Here are few of the things on my mind about this.

I’m noticing that with every encounter, there is a choice to be made. Will I be fully engaged in this moment, this encounter or will I let myself pull away, even a little from that edge? Just noticing that I have that choice brings a heightened sense of being present in the moment.

I’m sensing more clearly when the leaders I meet with are showing up with all of themselves, when they are fully present and authentically engaged. Or not. I can feel, then, how this affects their leadership. It’s harder to follow someone who seems not fully present with her own experience.

All of this makes me ponder the vulnerability of choosing full engagement and presence. If I allow myself to disconnect, even a little, from my own experience in this moment, it feels a little safer. There is a bit of a protective barrier around me. It’s not that I am safer, only that it feels so. But the power of leadership is in the risk of vulnerability, the full-hearted engagement that makes us want to follow.

For all of us as leaders, leading our own lives or leading others, these choices about our vulnerability and our presence are fundamental. They shape the texture of our connections with others and with ourselves. At work, these choices exert a powerful influence on our ability to get work done with and through others.

What are your experiences with your own choices about being fully present? How do those choices shape your leadership?
I’d love to hear from you!

To arrive at understanding from being one’s true self is called nature. To arrive at being one’s true self from understanding is called culture.