8 Hacks To Be More Present for Your Team


My team picks on me that I am not always focused.  It is true, I see shiny things and have to be brought back to planet earth. It’s been important to me over the years to figure out how to stay attentive for my team, being present heightens my ability to be a leader to them. I share with you some simple things that I ended up learning the hard way over the past few years that keep me focused on the person in front of me:

1) Breathe:
This is the #1 & absolutely free remedy for being present. When you find yourself wandering, take a breath, and reconnect to the person in front of you.

2) “Coffee Shop” Your Availability:
When I need to focus on one conversation, I often tell my staff that I am “Working out of the coffee shop”, which means that I am isolating myself from all distractions except for emergencies. I even put a sign up out side of my door with a picture of a coffee shop. This way I can be present for 1 person, and not my entire staff’s spontaneous needs.

3) Set A Timer Or Alarm:
Set a timer to go off a few minutes before your next appointment. This way you can be in the same space with the other person and not checking the time constantly.

4) Disable Email Auto Check:
This will immediately start building the habit to check emails only when you are ready to check them. This will help channel your energy on the person in front of you instead of the “You’ve Got Mail” knee-jerk reactions.

5) Turn off the screen:
When someone comes to talk with you, turn the screens off (Phones, Computer, iWatch). It keeps your focus on the person in front of you, and not all the digital content competing for your attention.

6) Summarize Parts Conversation:
Paraphrase what the other person said and confirm that your interpretation is correct. Starting to build this habit forces you to focus on the conversation in front of you and not the 101 conversations floating around in your head.

7) Ask Open Perspective Questions:
Challenge yourself to ask questions to further your understanding. Asking open perspective questions forces your mind to not come to conclusions as quickly, it helps you be open to new information and ideas. This shows the other person you are present with them.

8) Give The WHY:
It’s easy to give a simple answer (Yes, No, Maybe, I’ll think about it). Getting in the pattern of giving the WHY to your answer shows the other person that you are not just being autocratic, but that you also have valid reason for your answer. This creates the space for the other person to see you as present, even if they don’t agree with your why.

I want to hear your thoughts on being present. Do you agree with my tactics or disagree? Do any of these work for you? Your comments are thoroughly wanted!

Put your thoughts in the comments section below or email me!

- Michael Ian Cedar is a coach at EngagedLeadership.