The other day an acquaintance abruptly asked me “what is the most important quality of a good leader?” Surprisingly I did not hesitate to think about an answer, but blurted out “Awareness!” The more I thought on this response the more I feel and know (remember that “to know” as I intend the words means to have experienced) is the right answer and, in my opinion, deserves a few observations.
Being aware of this moment is not a light, take for granted thing. In fact, being aware places a person where each person needs to be when called by another or event and that is in the present as completely focused to that which calls as possible The response, then, will be the most appropriate that can be made and this whether passive, silent and observing, or an immediate response that is physical, verbal or both at the same time. When one is aware, they know what they experience internally as well as the external that exists around them. The information available is the full picture even if not yet understood.
The beauty of this is that duality for the moment does not exist. We are not texting and driving, eating and talking or watching television and feigning dialogue. In other words, as we so often find ourselves, when aware we are not multi-tasking. Which, by the way, recent research shows is not the best for any of the multiple and more tasks we try doing at the same time. Not surprisingly, most of us know this.
So if this is true for all of us it is particularly true and important for a leader because of the greater power and influence the leader has over those close and important to them. Also, as we’ve often discussed, the person that calls to the leader is there, present and aware of their own feelings and thoughts, or what brings them to the leader?
If a person calls to the leader and the leader is less than aware, or pretends to be with them and does not physically turn to them and be fully present, I strongly believe this pretense is felt even if not brought out into the open. This has to result in stifled and altered communication meaning both have lost something important in the exchange.
Awareness, being present and in the moment, in particular with those we say are significant to us, is a gift of ourselves to the other and even to events that call out to us. How else is the truly safe environment between people to exist? Words do not do this, but our behavior as experienced by the other does. Sy
L&MB Magazine 6 - Q2, 2016
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