How Being Present Makes You a Better Leader

Mindfulness and the idea that we should learn to be more “mindful” of our time is an idea that has been circulating through nearly all facets of society these days – but being mindful, or being present, is more than just the latest lifestyle trend.

This week on Episode 076 of Productivity Paradox, I discuss what it truly means to be present and how being more deliberate with our time can lead to an increase in both productivity and happiness… But did you know that being present at work can also help us to become better leaders? It’s true!

Today, I’m going to share a few ways that you can become present so that you can lead those around you to be happier, more effective and productive in the workplace.

Let’s get started!


  1.   Be in the Moment –

I will admit, it can be difficult to juggle everything that we have going on throughout the workday… and this is especially true when it comes to navigating the various challenges that pop up when you are in a leadership position with a number of people on your team!

The challenges that come with leading others in the workplace do not need to be nearly as stressful or cut-and-dry as we often make them out to be. In fact, research has shown when our fellow employees are faced with a challenge or a difficult situation, they simply need to feel that they are respected and that their concerns are being heard by someone in a leadership position.

So, how can you ensure that you’re giving your employees the attention that they need? Simple: Be Present.

The simple act of giving your employees space to air their grievances or to discuss their concerns is often all that they need from you as their leader. You do not necessarily need to step in, fix, or even solve their problems… Just by opening your door and making yourself accessible, stepping away from your computer screen (or smart phone!) and allowing your employees the time that they need to be heard can make all the difference in terms of developing deeper connections with your team, boosting office morale, happiness and productivity.


  1.   Plan for Presence –

Something that I like to do with my team is to plan specific times during the month for us to meet and chat about any concerns, upcoming projects and the like. By scheduling meetings with each of my team members, not only am I able to meet with each of them face-to-face individually, but I am also able to plan to be present. When I know that I have a meeting with a team member, I am able to prepare myself for the meeting and rid myself of any distractions that may otherwise prevent me from giving my employees the time and focused attention that they deserve.

If sharing a calendar with your team is a possibility for you, I encourage you to make space for your employees to schedule meetings with you at any time that they feel is necessary… Giving your team the freedom to schedule one-on-one time with you as their leader is not only imperative for keeping your whole team engaged in their work, but it also creates those pockets of time and space for when life throws us challenges in the workplace and more direction is needed.


  1.   Lead with Civility –

We all deserve to be treated in a civil manner no matter what, but did you know that simply showing respect to your team can be even more powerful than simply “showing up” for your employees when they need you most? It’s true!

Research has shown that the best way to lead is to lead with civility when it comes to the workplace. While leading with civility can be more difficult to put into practice than it sounds, it pays off in increased performance and creativity.

Leading people in a way that they feel respected allows for early mistake detection and the initiative to take corrective action while reducing emotional exhaustion. In a recent worldwide study, of the 20,000 employees that were examined, those who felt respected by their leaders reported 56% better health and well-being, 89% greater enjoyment and satisfaction, 92% greater focus and prioritization, 26% more meaning and significance and 55% more engagement at work… That’s huge!

By leading your team with civility, your employees are more likely to feel recognized and appreciated for their work, inspired by your company’s vision and that your feedback to them as a leader is both meaningful and useful—lending them more opportunity to learn, grow and develop in the workplace.

How can you incorporate civility into your work environment? Simply by setting expectations with your employees, identifying work practices, and by measuring and reinforcing those expectations and practices can make all the difference when it comes to establishing a respectful working atmosphere.


  1.   Embody Presence –

In last week’s post, I touched on how we can change how people perceive us simply by striking a powerful pose before we face a tough challenge in the workplace. The same idea comes into play when we strive to embody being present at work!

To mimic presence, I encourage you to take a few minutes prior to the start of each work day to ground yourself in your body. This can be done by visualizing every cell in your body coming alive and ready to take on the day’s challenges, or by simply by allowing for a few minutes of focused meditation before your work day begins.

When you’re not grounded, you’re more likely to lack a sense of direction or purpose, so it’s important to connect yourself to your body so that you can clear your mind, recharge your energy and calm your emotions. By conveying that you are present in your own body, you are more likely to come across as more present mentally and physically with those around you as well, and inspire them to do the same.

A simple shift in your posture—making a point to sit up straight, stand up straight, and to avoid slouching—can influence how you think, behave and communicate with your employees. Similar to the power pose before a big presentation, grounding yourself in your body and becoming more aware of your posture can shift the perception that others have on you, making you come across as more confident, aware, focused and invested in the workplace and in your team.

Thus, in the same way that we can catalyze qualities like confidence through assuming a bold pose, we can further induce qualities like awareness, focus, inclusion, and compassion in those we lead through our own mindful display of an uplifted, dignified posture.



What are some ways that you work to inspire your team members by being present in the workplace?

Be sure to share them in the comments below, and tune in to Episode 076 of Productivity Paradox for more insight into how being present can affect us in a variety of ways each and every day.


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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton