A Leadership Secret for Today’s Distracted Leader

Now I cannot remember the person who said this many years ago. But, I will never forget writing down the words in my notebook when I heard the speaker declare them from the platform, “When you’re in the room, be in the room.”

Being in the room is about being fully present.

Employees tell me of senior leaders visiting their work location far from their head office. The leader whisks through the office, makes tertiary glances and waves towards employees, meets with the location manager and then disappears in a matter of a few, short hours. These dear employees tell me they wish this leader would spend more time with them to connect, listen and talk with them. They even want their leader to spend an extra day in their midst because they see them so rarely. People thrive in other people’s presence.

When you’re in the room, be in the room.

It means to be absolutely authentic in everything you say and do. And for the other people present it also means bringing your best self to the situation.

Like when giving recognition to people. You, as the recognition giver, must show genuine excitement and enthusiasm towards the recipient and for all their contributions and achievements. Recognizers need to give their complete attention to the person being appreciated and celebrate all that they have done. Envelop others in your presence.

When you’re in the room, be in the room.

Or take this true confession from my married life. Irene and I strive to go on a weekly date together. Let’s take the example of heading out to some event at a local park in the summer. Irene quickly heads to the restroom at a certain point in time. I would like to think I am a typical male when I say to myself, “I will quickly check my emails on my iPhone while I am waiting.”

When my wife comes out of the restroom and sees me on my phone she says, “I thought we were on a date?” She feels unappreciated and unimportant because I escaped to my work-world on my phone and was now no longer fully present on our date. I never go on my iPhone anymore when we are out on our dates! Presence grounds us and focuses us on relationships.

When you’re in the room, be in the room…even at the park.

Please notice I am not saying fill up the room, occupy the room, or even shine a light on yourself in the room.

The key to being in the room, is to simply be there and take everything in like you are inhaling a precious breath, and then give out as much of you as is required by those who are already in the room.

Being present is reflecting back and magnifying the desired wishes, wants and needs of each person in the room. Do all you can to speak positively and encourage those you meet with. Connect to the very soul, as you look each person in the eye. And whether a kind handshake or a gentle touch on the arm, make whatever physical connection is appropriate.

Let each person remember you were in the room because they felt you were there and not simply because they knew you were there.

Write the words down for you and let them sink in to your heart and mind the next time you meet with one person or several people.

“When you’re in the room, be in the room.”

Roy Saunderson has spent most of his career showing people how to give others “real recognition”. He really is the Get Recognition Right® Guy. He is an author, consultant and speaker to organizations around the world from North America, Europe, Middle East and India. He serves as the Chief Learning Officer of Rideau’s Recognition Management Institute and has personally worked with Boeing, Credit Suisse, Disney, Intel, Johnson and Johnson, and the Canadian Federal Government leaders in getting recognition right. And the best recognition for Roy to get right is being a happy family man and being married to his lovely wife, Irene, for over 35 years and enjoying their five children and 11 grandchildren.

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