Why You Need To Implement Present Leadership Sooner Rather Than Later

Leadership requires an individual to be many things. A great leader is a visionary, an inspiration to team members, and a testament to integrity and authenticity. But within this framework, a leader is also dealing with many aspects of a business behind the scenes — things that many workers don’t see.

From operations to reputation, a successful leader is constantly juggling numerous things that can detract from leadership itself. However, there is a noteworthy solution: present leadership. Find out what present leadership means, how you can become a present leader, and the benefits that it brings.

What Is Present Leadership?

People working together to solve a problem

Interestingly, present leadership is not really a leadership style. It’s a state of mind. It transcends being present physically and brings your full attention mentally, intellectually, and emotionally to your team. It’s total mindfulness, the quelling of your inner monologue, and the ability to create meaningful connections with other team members of your organization.

However, maintaining present leadership can mean many different things to various people and businesses. Some examples of being a present leader might include:

  • Maintaining or building upon your emotional intelligence, listening skills, and empathy
  • Avoiding a “checked-out” mentality due to business or personnel mistakes in the past
  • Always being a contributor to a project
  • Having an open-door policy
  • Holding a sense of self-awareness
  • Realizing that team members—yourself included—are human beings that sometimes make mistakes or have an off-day
  • Avoiding constant fear, uncertainty, or doubt about future events that are out of your control
  • Finding compassion for fellow workers

These aspects of present leadership will all change depending on the scenario, but they’re good starting points to learn how present leadership works, and how it relates to your current point of view.

However, the power to remain present isn’t innate in most people—or even leaders. Therefore, to become a better leader, present leadership must remain a constant goal that you always strive to achieve.

Can All Types of Individuals Embrace Present Leadership?

Leadership theory posits that a variety of factors determine what makes an effective leader. The only problem is it’s just that—a theory. While the theory doesn’t touch directly on present leadership, it can lend some insight into whether it’s achievable for managers and business owners.

A vast majority of humans have empathy, which is one of the foremost characteristics of a present leader. However, the other facets of present leadership are what make a huge difference between success and failure. Beyond empathy, you must possess integrity, avoid dwelling on past or future events, and have a tangible sense of self-awareness that’s felt by your employers.

As you may have noticed, many of the traits of an effective leader are also those of a present leader. However, being an effective leader doesn’t necessarily dictate whether you’re a present leader. You have to be in the present moment to the effect that others can feel it too.

The successful present leader has an osmosis effect that permeates into the rest of the staff. It’s felt more than observed by others, yet for the leader themselves, it’s about being available—without being hung up on other aspects of the business.

Therefore, all types of individuals can learn to become present leaders; others may just have to work on it a bit more than others. Through personal improvement of oneself or through the help of leadership coaches, an effective leader becomes a present leader—one that’s respected for their openness, empathy, and promoting the well-being of others as a priority as much as their tact for inspiration and motivation.

How Do I Become a Present Leader?

Fahd doing some leadership coaching

Regardless of your title—manager, vice president, director, CEO, or even your leadership team—present leadership isn’t inherent or innate. Even the fanciest management or graduate degrees don’t automatically qualify you as a present leader, even if it gives you a plethora of other leadership skills.

So to become a present leader, you have to look outside of your academic background or expertise and look more toward your human qualities. Because present leadership predicates itself on being there in mind and spirit, it’s not always education that can vault you into the role.

If you want to become a present leader, you have several ways to go about it. Add a few of these ideas to your mix of managerial practices, and you may just find that present leadership finds you rather than the other way around.

Focus on the Now

Fortune 500 management consultant and Harvard Business Review writer Rasmus Hougaard builds upon these thoughts by also stating that while wisdom and compassion are integral to successful management, managers should always focus on the now.

Focusing on what’s happening right now is the definition of present leadership—which should help you sort your thoughts from concern, repetition, and other issues that go through your mind each day. And when you add the other aspects listed above, you only solidify the idea of not just being there in person—but being there unabated by outside thoughts, lackluster attention, or negativity.

Demonstrate Compassion

As mentioned by Hougaard, compassion and wisdom are two of the defining factors in successful leadership, and moreover, in present leadership. While wisdom is something that’s learned over time, compassion is something that you can implement immediately.

Any situation or scenario from a performance review to a disciplinary hearing can benefit from compassion. It’s all about balance. Compassion requires you to care for others while also creating value as a business leader—even in the most difficult situations.

Remember that it’s human interaction that can make all the difference to an employee. Showing your human side shouldn’t be a sign of weakness—it’s a sign that you’re growing as a person and a leader—even in an often-tough business world.

Give Your Undivided Attention

A leader has the intrinsic ability to multitask, wear many hats, and do it all in stride. However, there comes a time when multitasking and thinking about other duties, tasks, or projects can lead to mistrust or lack of empathy as perceived by your employees.

Focusing on the bigger picture can certainly lead to productivity, but you don’t want to do it at the cost of employee morale or engagement.

Whether you’re in a meeting or interacting with others on any other type of media, give your undivided attention. Though it may not feel natural when you have a pressing issue at hand, your employees will recognize your calm and collected demeanor. With your appearance of availability, openness, and attention, you’re a present leader in every sense of the phrase.

Shut Down Your Inner Monologue

When you’re wearing many hats, your inner voice or monologue loves to give you unsolicited tips and advice throughout the day. In many ways, this voice helps you stay on track or motivate you in times of uncertainty or peril.

But part of present leadership is being able to shut it down. This may not necessarily mean that you can flick a switch, but just quieting your inner voice when necessary is part of becoming a present leader.

Unfortunately, sticking a sock in the mouth of your inner monologue isn’t as simple as it sounds. He or she is boisterous, loud, and opinionated. They always want a word or a piece of the action.

If your voice sounds like this, an effective way to shut it down is to meditate, eat lunch, or do something by yourself before a meeting or event. This gives you time to control your inner voice or let them air out all of their comments. This leaves you with an open mind, compassion, empathy, and the mental state of being present.

What Are the Benefits of Present Leadership?

Man drawing on white board for employees

Although present leadership is an idea that may take some time to establish, its benefits are well worth the efforts of the individual. Beyond your team members seeing you more as a person and as less of a figurehead, you can also reap several advantages you may never have had before:

  • Improve employee engagement and employee morale.
  • Become self-aware of your emotions and thoughts and how to regulate them.
  • Learn ways to sort out conflict and refine your conflict management skills.
  • Avoid overthinking things to the point of exhaustion or even depression.
  • Become a symbol of stability and a shining example of leadership within your organization.
  • Take advantage of the law of attraction, where the positivity you exude turns into the same positivity for those around you.

Be Present in Your Leadership Education

Reading an article about present leadership or any other type of leadership can give you the ideas you need for improvement, but you still have to put them to use. This isn’t always easy or practical, oftentimes because you’re taking an idea and trying to make a tangible relationship to your employees.

So if you want to engage in present leadership, invest in your own leadership improvement and education. A novel way to start is with leadership training and coaching. With an outside approach to management, you can look at situations from a different perspective and employ the leadership techniques you need to succeed—whether it’s through present leadership or another effective methodology.

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