Great Leaders Pay Attention
Are You Minding Those Around You?
Who here is a great multi-tasker? You can read a book, cook dinner, listen to music, and mind the kids all at the same time… right? The truth is that our brains can comprehend one task at a time. Switching between tasks means we have to do a soft reset and get ourselves caught up with what’s going on. When you’re trying to multi-task, you end up performing poorly on all of the tasks at hand.
The same goes for when you’re paying attention to someone as they are talking to you. If you have your phone out, or you’re reading a book, or glancing at email, it’s not only rude to the person talking, but you’re going to focus on one thing more than the other. The end result: you may not even hear what they are saying, and you likely won’t remember what you were reading or looking at.
Big Sky Collision Center has worked its way to being the best auto body repair shop in Billings by training everyone that works here as a leader. Part of being a great leader, is knowing how to pay attention to others.
Focus Your Attention and Listen Better
There are a few checks to keep in place when learning how to pay better attention.
Check Your Mood
No matter what is going on in your life, your attitude and emotions will project onto others. If you’re grumpy, people will leave your presence grumpy. Many motivational speakers will tell you that the best way to improve interpersonal relationships is to leave your funk at the door. Work funk stay at work, home funk stays at home, etc. You don’t have to be overly barista-style bubbly, but you need to at least be in a good mood.
Check Your Focus
Distractions are everywhere. Unless you actively get rid of the squirrels, you will go chasing them. Turn the phone off, turn off the computer screen, leave the office if you have to. Maintain focus with the person and don’t attempt to multi-task.
Check Your Mindfulness
Your attention will drift in and out. A red car drives by, you used to have a red car, it was a Pontiac, Pontiac is owned by GM, have they been struggling lately?, I wonder if they are going to be competitive in the electric car industry, when’s the new Tesla come out, did I pay the electric bill… yes, certainly. Being mindful requires discipline and it will take time to learn it. Recognize when you begin to drift, and bring your focus back.
Check Your Limits
Our brains can only focus for so long. After about 30 minutes, we begin to wear down. Your limits may be a little shorter, or a little longer. Discover them, know them, and don’t try to push them.
Check Your Listening
Active listening involves much more than hearing. You must really listen, ask questions, paraphrase to ensure that you have heard properly. The more important the conversation, the more you have to practice active listening. If you’re listening to a hunting story from a friend, you might not need to listen as intently as when you’re discussing a career change with your spouse.
Leadership is Important for Everyone
Whether you’re in charge of a million dollar company, a household, or just yourself, leadership is a skill that we all need to learn. When you want to get noticed by others, and become more well respected, train yourself in the ways of mindfulness and as a listener. People will remember their interactions with you, and want to be around you.