One’s action ought to come out of an achieved stillness: not to be mere rushing on. — D.H. Lawrence; English novelist, poet and playwright
It is highly inconvenient when you have to go pee in the middle of a life or death defining Ping-Pong game; just ask my 9-year old nephew. And being required to wash his hands after is even more bothersome. Being self-centered is not atypical of young children. They don’t really care that their rushing (sans washing hands) can unintentionally result in passing on germs and so on.
We all rush, whether it’s through a conversation, a task or a decision to be made, and unconsciously de-prioritize the present moment.
When self-interest prevails, rushing becomes infectious resulting in self-centered behaviors, be it not pausing to constructively engage with employees, or spending too little time dissecting a problematic customer issue that may have been avoided.
Take a moment here, and observe how you are reading this article? Is there an inner attitude of rushing? How does that impact the quality of your breathing and how you’re reading right now?
Rushing affects all aspects of our lives, and it can be particularly impactful when it comes to leadership in the workplace.
A case in point: One of my clients has a boss who routinely rushes through the act of leading. This boss hurries through conversations regarding team or direct-report priorities. Rather than slowing down to give needed direction and input, he often (shortsightedly) resorts to humiliating diatribes when the deliverables aren’t what he wanted. Rather than taking the time and effort to give constructive guidance, he will often slip into passive aggressive behaviors when the mark has been missed. As a result tension, self-preservation, and miscommunication reign. He has successfully passed on his germs.
Rushed and self-centered leadership results in missed present moments – missed targets, missed relationship opportunities and miscommunication. This is one of the unintended consequences of rushing – we pass on our germs.
Unfortunately, this pattern of disengagement and hurrying through the importance of being present both to oneself and to the other is common in many levels of the organization.
In 2014 the company my client worked for lost over $18 million in revenue. Fingers were pointed but the real culprit was never named – rushed and ineffective, downright bad leadership.
The art and practice of presence is a business imperative that allows for breaking out of the cycle of rushed leadership. It enables conscious leadership where effective decision-making and sustainable long-term success of the organization is not just possible but indisputable.
As Bill Adams, one of the founders of the Full Circle Group – a leadership excellence consulting organization – so wisely said, “Organizational performance cannot exceed the consciousness of its leadership.”
Clearly there’s a strong business case for conscious leadership that begins with presence. How does rushed leadership show up in your organization? Can you point to its impact?
Are you ready to de-escalate the rushing and be present?