That’s a quirky thought.
I was on the treadmill this morning, a perfect time to let my mind wander. I usually come up with some different ideas, or odd thoughts like this one while I’m running. I like the mindless time letting my thoughts go where they may. It is supposed to be good, healthy, and restorative.
I was thinking about a kitchen counter with stools, a design that helps parents multi-task. Think about it. They can serve breakfast to their kids, be close to the refrigerator to grab a missed item, refill their coffee cups, and pluck finished dishes to rinse, all while the dishwasher door remains open.
My theory is that being disconnected started with the kitchen counter and stools, long before mobile devices played their part. Sitting at the counter means you are no longer facing other people (except the various sides of mom as she works her way through dishes, coffee, and bagging lunches). You are shoulder to shoulder. As you engage in conversation without eye contact, you can’t see the reaction from the listener. You can’t know if that person is really taking it in because you can’t see their body language or facial reactions.
Presence is one of the most powerful leadership capabilities. The nice thing is you are not born with it, and it has nothing to do with being an extrovert or having charisma. Being present is a learned skill.
It means listening, truly listening, with full eye contact. Leaning in, asking questions, using body language to convey you are hearing them. This shows how much you value that person.
People won’t remember what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel. Leadership isn’t about being respected, as much as it is about respecting others.
Here’s another lesson on presence that starts at home.
What small habits can you change to make your presence felt at work and at home?