How being "present" can improve performance

How often are we immersed in our own world when walking through the office or distracted by other thoughts when a colleague is talking? What about those times when you drift off and actually repeat what someone has just said.

Every look, facial expression and word we utter has an effect on others. In fact, everything we do matters.

Think about a time when you were in a group situation. Were you interacting with your full attention on the room, the people and the topic? Or was your presence more of a disruption, as you glanced at you mobile phone or interrupted as other people talked.

In any workplace or group situation, establishing a framework around communication is important. Setting objectives at the beginning and creating guidelines for achieving them is integral to effective teamwork and achieving the goals of an organisation. As we know, communication is at the heart of driving results.

Here are some principles to ensure that communication and behaviour helps drive the results you need.

  1. Establish the objective and goal. Why are we here? What do we need to achieve? How can each of us contribute to this goal?
  2. Open the lines of communication. Every individual has a responsibility to be open and alert the team if they have an idea or objection.
  3. Accept that differences of opinion will exist. Diversity and challenging others in a constructive way is positive as it ensures all angles and outcomes have been addressed. Remember that almost everyone has good intentions behind what they say or do, even if it sounds harsh.
  4. Embrace being brave and speaking up for what you believe is right. Establish a support network – this could be one person – that helps guide us through difficult and challenging times and has the emotional capacity to listen. It’s not weakness to admit you need help with challenges. It’s actually a huge strength and in turn this helps us build trust and confidence in each other.
  5. Learn from each other, no matter how small or large the situation is. Have I acted on the right things in this situation? What have I learnt from any mistakes? How can I help others to avoid this trap in future? How can I share my knowledge?
  6. Reflect on whether people feel that they are taken seriously, listened to and appreciated. We’ll never agree with other people 100% of the time, but we can listen and take their views seriously. All that’s involved here is taking the time and effort to listen.
  7. Finally, ask yourself the question: do you and others enjoy going to work? How can I contribute to bringing positive energy to a workplace to make others feel passionate about being there?

Paying attention to others, acknowledging people in the lift or the kitchen is a simple start. It’s just the beginning to demonstrate to others that yes, they are important.

Author: Peter Robinson
Team Leadership Services