When it comes to leadership, not only is your “presence” important, but being present in the moment – with your team, with your partners, or with your organization – may mean the difference between effectiveness and mediocrity.
Mindfully present leaders are connected to more satisfied, more civil, and better performing employees.
Present is being in the moment, versus simply existing at the time. Are you spending more time with your head, or more time in experiencing?
We often recognize presence in other people with particular adjectives: like “real,” “authentic,” “deep,” or “meaningful.” Presence is an active effort to be in the here and now, and being present can help you to get more feedback and information to take the best decisions.
Naturally, being a better decision maker means becoming a better leader.
Focus here on the leadership behaviors of Doug Conant, a former CEO of Campbell Soup Company. His emphasis is on “touchpoints,” which represent opportunities to interact, influence, and lead people in pursuit of a common goal.
Those touchpoints are a reframing of regular interactions that we may seem as unimportant – the opportunities that exist to create a connection with the people you are leading. Touchpoints are made out of a leader, another party, and an issue.
His approach to leadership engages your head, heart and hands. Leaders identify the nature of the touchpoint (head), put the goals of the group ahead of their own (heart), and interact with confidence, tenacity, and effectiveness (hands).
This approach mirrors the experience of counseling and mentoring – where you have to be present in terms of mind, body, and emotions.
Basically effective leadership is “all in.”
As a CEO, Conant was well known for the time he invested in getting to know people and possessing a genuine interest in their lives. Over 30,000 handwritten letters of gratitude and encouragement are his paper trail as a leader. And judging by his excellent book (check it out here, friends), it really spoke to his legacy and effectiveness as a leader.
Other famous leaders who embody this approach may come from places many people wouldn’t expect. As the Governor of The Lonestar State (Texas, y’all!), George W. Bush was well known for roaming the basement of the capital and chatting with everyone, from housekeeping to executives, remembering names and personal details of all he met. This kind of genuine, passionate engagement of people was well received by those who worked with him and it made him beloved by those who worked under him.
Short and sweet, be “all-in” with your people. Just showing up to the office won’t cut it. Learn how to focus your mind, engage your heart, and put the hands to work – excellence begets excellence, and we need leaders who are earnestly interested in the lives of their teams, organizations, and partners.