Irrespective of your designation, your industry, or your role, your presence must be an important area for you to look into, and develop if necessary. At IGL-India, we claim that your presence has a great deal to do with the trust people have in you, and also it has a great deal to do with your success.
If Presence is indeed so important, let’s first begin with what does Presence even mean?
Simply put, presence is how you land on others. In others words, presence is the assessment others make of your impact on them. Even before you open your mouth to speak the first word, people make assessments about you. This assessment is based on the body you show up in and the emotional energy you emit generally, and in particular moments. Of course, once you start to speak,what you speak, and how you speak also impacts the way others assess your presence.
To have presence is to be connected every moment with the
question: ‘for the sake of what am I doing’. It
is being connected to your purpose, and acting in fulfilling
What I have stated above is the external aspect of Presence. There is another aspect to presence, which is the internal aspect of presence. To have presence is to live in this moment, in the here and now. Not in your past, and not in your future. To have presence is to be bodily alert in this moment. It is to be aware of your emotional state, its impact on how you see the world, and also its impact on others around you.
To have presence is to be connected every moment with the question: ‘for the sake of what am I doing’. It is being connected to your purpose, and acting in fulfilling your purpose.
I have identified 3 C’s of Presence that can significantly elevate your leadership Presence.
First C: Choice
At the Institute for Generative Leadership, we claim ‘You always have a choice’. We understand that humans may have no choice in the matter of the facts of this world. For example, I have a coachee who runs a successful business, but is blind. In this moment, he has no choice in the matter of his eyesight, and he cannot state, ‘I always have choice, and I want my eyesight back.’ That is not what we mean by ‘You always have choice’.
My coachee may have no choice in the fact that he is blind – however, he always has a choice with how he approaches his blindness. He can be dis-empowered because of it, he can blame God for it, he can blame his destiny for it; or he can simply accept it, and move on in his life to take care of what he cares about.
In every moment, irrespective of your external circumstance, you have a choice in how you interpret your external circumstance, and how you interpret your external circumstance will determine what action you take. To be in a state of choice is also known as being centered.
We are centered when our body, mind and emotions are in a state where we can choose our actions. When we are not in a state to choose our actions, we are “off-center”; our reactions and tendencies choose for us. Through centering we can attain complete balance and focus regardless of our situation.
Second C: Care
In this moment, what care are you taking care of?
Leaders are aware of their cares, and are moment-to-moment connected to what care they are taking care of. A program participant of a 6-month program at the Institute for Generative Leadership-India once shared, “My team and I had created together that we, as a team, care for- the vision and the goals of this organisation, and that we, as a team, would meet our goals to enable the organisation in meeting theirs. One afternoon, I returned back early to the office because my client meeting got cancelled. My entire team was sitting together and cracking jokes and generally not working. This entire team always claimed to be very busy and did not have the time to complete all the tasks they had.
When I came back early, they were surprised to see me – they clearly were not expecting me back so soon to the office.
I asked them, ‘so, what care were you taking care of for the last hour or so in this office?”
This program participant claimed that this simple yet powerful question opened up a new world for his team. What was blind to the team a moment ago became obvious to them a moment later.
In my interactions with my program participants and coachees, I realize people are not even aware of what they care about. How can you take care of what you care about, if you do not even know what you care for?
Third C: Commitment
Bob Dunham, the Founder of the Institute for Generative Leadership, makes a claim that our actions are shaped by our commitment. This claim has been tested in different situations over 30 years, and not once has it been proved otherwise.
The question here is are you aware of your commitment, or are you blind to your commitment. For example, when you go to a colleague to make a request, and the colleague responds back angrily, do you clarify why you made the request you made, or do you jump to retort back to his angry comment?
You had a commitment when you went up to the colleague to make a request – your action of making the request was inside of some commitment. But when you received an angry response, you lost connection with your commitment of why you were making the request in the first place, and suddenly became committed to teaching the other person a lesson, or defending your position, or guarding your false self-esteem, or some thing else of the sort.
Being connected to your commitment, moment to moment, is having presence.
Finally, here are some questions that I’d like to leave you with to consider:
How am I interpreting the current situation?
Is there another way to interpret this same situation?
For the sake of what am I doing what I am doing at this moment?.What am I committed to in this moment?
Reflect upon these questions. Chances are new actions will emerge for you. If you need assistance reach out to us. We run some very powerful programs at the Institute for Generative Leadership one of which is titled ‘Results Oriented Leadership’. This is a three day powerful program that helps you generate results that matter to you. We look forward to being touch with you.
Sameer Dua, Founder Director, Institute for Generative Leadership, India