Do you want to be a leader? Pay Attention!
Really, that is what works. Pay attention to your own self, others in your home and work life, and have open attention to the wider world. In other words, sharpen your Inner-Other-Outer Attention.
Now more than ever, employers are seeking employees who continually activate their focused attention in order to increase sales, decrease turnover, and increase innovation. The kind of attention we are talking about here is Emotional Intelligence. According to Emotional Intelligence scholar Daniel Goleman, author of Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, it is a core competency for anyone striving for effectiveness and leadership. Emotionally Intelligent leaders, who see emotional information as part of professionalism, drive better business performance.
What are you currently doing to increase your self-awareness? An amazing fact about humans is that regardless of a person’s age, cultural background or work title, we all have the same feelings and the same needs. Taking time to focus what you are feeling and what is driving the manifestation of that feeling is a key practice to guide how you interact with others. More importantly, this awareness increases self-worth, confidence, and better decision making.
Do you take a brief moment to consider how your words and actions might impact another? Building on your ability to have focused self-awareness, keen attention to another person’s perspective will allow you to adjust what you say and what you do, opening up more understanding and mutual motivation. This focused attention will help you avoid the pitfalls of emotional triggers, ego-centered decisions, or periphery distractions.
Each day, you are gifted 24 brand new hours and the opportunity to have a positive impact on life. Take your focus and shift it outward to the world around you. What are you seeing? How are people behaving? Does someone nearby need a smile, a hand up, or for someone to hear their creative idea? This level of open listening, questioning, reflecting, and perspective gathering is referred to by Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer as “environmental mindfulness.”
Pay Attention Now!
Using these three levels of emotional intelligence will help you and your organization maximize talents and build better relationships. Business leaders are increasingly adding their voice to the choir that sings the praises of mediation as the first core step in inner-other-outer development. Gift yourself 10 minutes each day to focus on your breath, and when you notice your mind has wandered, bring it back to your breath. It works! It takes consistent practice but the rewards are rich.
Written by Julie Maloney. Julie is a Senior Educator and Instructional Developer for Workforce Development at Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, Inc. With a Masters in Communication from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and a wide variety unique life experiences, Julie works to support Goodwill’s Mission by designing trainings and curricula abundant with personal development tools to increase sustainable, professional success.