No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The 2nd Rule of Presence: Wherever You Are, Be All There

The best advice I got from the outgoing commander when I took command of my company was the Three Rules of Presence. 

The second one was this: Wherever you are, be all there. Be present in more than just body.

He said soldiers are used to being overlooked by officers. They're used to brass who really aren't interested. You dilute the power of the first rule (leverage your location) if you obviously are mentally elsewhere.

So look at people. Turn away from the computer. Keep your Blackberry in your pocket. Set aside the last thing you did, and the next thing you have to do. Give yourself 100% to the conversation or activity you're participating in right now.

Do this, and you'll learn more, people will be motivated by your interest, and you won't miss information because it passed through your ears without contacting your brain.

Don't do it, and your decisions won't be as good, you'll know less, and your people will peg you as just another seagull manager: You fly by, and what you leave behind is, well . . . crap.

Obvious advice, you've heard it before, but ask yourself: what percentage of the time do you have your boss's complete, unfocused attention? If it's so easy, why doesn't he/she do it more? And, be honest, why don't we? Give your people what they deserve: Your focus.

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