The Power Of Now – The Key to Increasing Leadership Effectiveness
"I do believe that leading in the now is grounded in being aware of the opportunity to mold moments into successful futures."
You may be familiar with the phrase “the power of now.” Several years ago a book was released by Eckhart Tolle with that title. Interesting read I must say.
One of many takeaways from the book is thinking about the concept of “now.”…as opposed to earlier or later.
I think for many leaders, thinking in terms of what’s coming up vs. focusing on what’s happening at the moment is a common practice. We have so much going on! Plus, that “future thinking” -- strategy and planning are essential leadership competencies.
This phenomenon could be described as partially functioning in the present while constantly anticipating the future. And because of that, the reality is for many, we are rarely if ever all in the moment.
So, if this is even remotely true, that we are rarely all in the moment, are we at our best in our moments? Can we give our best in a moment when we portioning part of ourselves out in anticipating the future? As leaders, what could we be missing (from ourselves or staff) if we’re not fully present now?
Why does the principle of “now” even matter? What’s the cost of not being fully present now?
The foundational answer speaks initially to the use of time. It matters because now is a segment of time. It’s a simple moment of time and a moment turns into minutes, which turns into weeks, months, years…future outcomes – inevitably our lives. (Ah, that’s probably where the phrase “living in the moment” comes from).
Additionally, when we really think about it, now is really all we have. The future ends up being a “now”…kind of wild when you think about.
In fact (continuing this train of thought), if we are regularly in a state of anticipating or living for the future, we could be undermining our futures, because we are not fully living out the now.
I believe increasing our leadership effectiveness can be found in creating a more impactful, intentional, strategic now.
So what does being more fully in the moment look like practically? Here’s an example: Remember the last time you were working on a project and you were so “into it” that you lost track of time -- time seemed to just fly by? Yep, you were so connected and engaged in the activity it’s as if time stood still.
This is a great example that many can relate to and it also offers us insights into the benefits of being in the now:
Higher levels of satisfaction
More quality results
Better time usage
Feeling more alive
Be more aware
Lower levels of stress
…and I bet you can think of more.
I consider this list the first layer of benefits, because they can lead to more. For example, being more observant could lead to capturing and addressing a problem in its infancy and in doing so save time and money.
Here’s another – being aware can translate into increased attentiveness to team members, which could nurture more engagement and loyalty.
There are so many more…
We can see then that not only do we get to experience these benefits, but as a leader, they are fully transferable to those we lead. Imagine influencing and leading from the presence of these benefits.
So how do we as very busy leaders lead and live more from the now? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Continually remind yourself of the benefits to yourself and your team.
2. Decide it’s worth it – see the value.
3. Consciously slow down, being more thoughtful in everything you do as you go through your day.
4. Determine to focus on one thing at a time.
5. Work in blocks of time. Purposely say, “I going to focus on this for (blank -- whatever time you allot).
6. When meeting or speaking with a colleague or team member, purposely eliminate all distractions so that your full attention can be given – so much so that they feel and notice it!
This list will get us started. Once we begin the practice of being more in the now, our now - moments will be molded into much better futures!