Great Leaders Give Presents of Presence

Give the present of presence

The greatest holiday gift or year-end bonus might not come in a package. Great leaders give presents of their presence – and they do it all year long. Employees won’t always remember what you gave them, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. Be present. Practice mindful leadership.

I once worked as a nanny for Elizabeth. She lived in the nicest house in the richest neighborhood of the city. Elizabeth’s bedroom was beautiful. She had a walk-in closet filled with clothes and floor-to-ceiling shelves which held her vast collection of dolls, teddy bears, and toys. Her bed had embroidered cotton sheets and a frilly canopy. In December Elizabeth had a pile of presents wrapped. But this poor little rich girl never got what she really wanted.

Giving presence is more important than presents.

She never got much attention from her parents. They were always too busy socializing, golfing, and attending galas. So, in honor of Elizabeth, I practice being present with people. Here are some ways you can give the present of your presence at work every day:

  • Ask your team members about their family and personal life. Let them know you care about them as individuals.
  • Focus most of your conversation on the people you network with. Ask about their day, their interests, their ambitions, and their challenges.
  • Listen attentively. Eliminate your distractions. Face them when they talk, and show interest in them.
  • Turn off your cell phone and/or have your calls held. Clear some space on your desk so you’re not shuffling papers.

Presents and bonuses are easily forgotten. When you know how to be present all year, you will build those important lasting relationships and your team will perform better. Your business performance will soar.