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The Gift of Showing Up Fully

 In Communication, Leadership
By Tyler Head

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at the dinner table with my wife and much of our family we had not seen in a while. As the rest of the family conversed, my mind drifted off to something that had happened during work earlier that day. From there, it progressed into what I needed to do the next day. As I “solved” this problem—in my head—at the dinner table, I began to make a mental task list while secretly longing to physically slip away and develop an action plan for the next day. Almost simultaneously, with the start of my oh-so-great action plan on my mind, my wife nudged me and quietly asked, “Hey, where’d you go?”…At that moment, it solidified in me that our physical showing up is not synonymous with presence. Presence is fully showing up, being in a place, listening intentionally, and engaging with who and what is happening at that moment.

How often are we physically showing up in our organizations but lack presence?

I believe our lack of presence is more frequent than any of us would like to admit. Hear me on this. It is probably for a good reason, many of which we can all relate to and or have firsthand experience. However, in my time of learning how to better be with people—Leadership Development—I believe one of the most essential skills to develop is that of presence.

I am willing to bet, more specifically with business leaders, executives, and high-performers, we show up physically but often lack presence, similar to the situation above. It’s not purposeful but simply the “nature of the game,” or so we believe. Because, as we move from meeting to task from task to signature, from signature to phone call, from phone call to fire, from fire to board room, how could we not? Regardless of why we don’t, presence is far more than physical and of the utmost importance when leading.

Presence is far more than physical and of the utmost importance when being a leader.

In the daily hustle and bustle, we often struggle to see the forest for the trees. But, if we can learn to pay attention to the tree, the growth of the forest will correspond. Your presence with your immediate team will yield a much higher return than anything else. Your team, and more significantly your direct reports, are aching for your presence when they approach you with the many things they do.

To show up fully, we must be present with head and heart, listen intentionally, engage with each other, and consciously fight the urge to check out mentally—the smile and nod—a technique we all so easily become skilled at.

As people leaders, it is crucial to direct our focus and attention to the present moment—both person and problem—to make a healthy, supportive connection. When you consistently make healthy connections, a byproduct of presence, your whole organization improves. As trust develops, unity strengthens, and you will grow as an organization. It’s a natural byproduct.

After all, that is a vital facet of our role as organizational leaders. You see, my fellow high-performing, task annihilating, people leading executives, it’s far less about how much you do but more so about developing the ability to show up fully when you do.

Here are a couple of questions that may provoke thought on your ability to show up fully as a leader:

  • What items on your current calendar (daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly) could use more of your presence? Less of your presence?
  • Who suffers most from your lack of presence? Why?
  • Who gains the most from your presence? Why?
Big Challenge:  Share your observations with a trusted individual in your life and ask them for their perspective on these questions regarding what they observe in you.

Leadership development is learning how to better be with people, and presence is showing up fully in that space.

At DRYVE Leadership Group, we know the profound impact on organizational culture that the presence of a leader can have. We’d love to partner with you and your organization as you grow in your ability to show up fully in your organization. Contact us today!    
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