Giving the Gift of You

As we head into the holiday season, I want to talk about giving the best kind of gift that you can give your employees and those around you – the gift of yourself! As a business leader, you can have a huge impact on people by being present and available, by having empathy and by being compassionate.

There are a couple of different ways that you can be there for your people. The first one is having a physical presence. Now, in an office this is easy. You have an open door policy. You walk around regularly, say hello to people, eat meals in common areas and you make time for people.

However, when you are remote, as many of us are these days, this can become more challenging. When you are leading a remote team, you really need to take extra steps to make sure that you are available and that people know it. It’s one thing to be in an office with the door open. Everybody knows you’re available. But when you’re at home or you’re in a different office, it’s not as obvious. So you’ve got to make sure people know you are avaible to them . A few ways to accomplish this is to be active on instant messages/chat/text, to proactively check in often, and to always have your video on when you’re in meetings.

Having your video on is one big thing that can really make a big difference when it comes to your remote presence. When you keep your camera off that sends a signal to your people that that you’re not there for them, that you have other more important things to attend to in the background. Also, utilize video conferencing instead of simply using phone calls when contacting your people. It’s the simple act of seeing somebody that is so powerful when it comes to sending the message that you are present.

The other important type of presence is psychological presence. Psychological presence is where you will create an atmosphere of trust, loyalty and commitment. When you have that psychological presence people will really bond with you. So how do you do it? Well, first of all, be in the moment. Focus on the person in front of you. Put down your cell phone, stop looking at your computer monitor, don’t be typing emails or indulging in the many distractions that are available to us. Be very focused on whoever is in front of you in that moment. Doing this visibly, is a powerful message of interest and presence.

Secondly, ask questions. Demonstrate a deep curiosity.. Nothing says I’m there for you psychologically more than asking questions, clarifying and making sure that they feel you’re really trying to understand and empathize with what’s going on. Pay attention to the nonverbal aspects of your body language. Make sure you’re maintaining eye contact. All these little things says to people that ‘I’m there for you’.

I encourage every leader to be present, to give of themselves. Not just in the workplace. Do it at home too. Giving yourself will create an environment where people are comfortable, whether it’s at home or in a business, and people are going to want to be in a situation where they’re comfortable.

Happy Holidays!

As we all deal with the stress and uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus and its impact on our day to day lives, it's important to step back and take the time to care for ourselves. Here are some of the things that are worth consciously working on in the coming weeks.

SPEND TIME WITH LOVED ONES, especially children. In today’s busy world often our time with the ones we love gets put on the back burner. As events, activities, and schools cancel….and more and more people work at home, now is a great chance to get caught up with each other.

REDISCOVER THE SIMPLE THINGS. There was a time when we weren’t “on the clock” 24/7, when our children weren’t spending each evening in activities… when life was a routine. With much of that canceled for the near term, now is an opportunity to have family dinners, play games, read that book that you can never get to. Take a step back from the complications of the world. Take a breather.

FIND THE GOOD IN THINGS. We are bombarded all day and night with the negative things that are going on. There is much criticism over governments, mass hysteria, other nations, etc. But there are good stories out there as well. Stories of people helping people. While it's a shame that we have to work hard to find these, it is worth the effort.

Last, and most importantly, KEEP A POSITIVE MINDSET. It is so easy to succumb to the negativity that flows from a crisis such as this one. But keeping a positive mindset is one of the best things that you can do during this time. Positive energy will help you maintain your health, be productive, and reduce stress. Moreover, it is contagious. Everyone that you come in contact with (from 6 feet away of course) will be affected by your energy, even if just a little bit. And the more positive energy that is released into the world, the better this situation will be and the quicker it will resolve.


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