I recently came across an article on the Wall Street Journal called ‘The 33 CEO characteristics that inspire employees – and the one that matters most’. With a title like that I was naturally sceptical. I already have trouble remembering the ‘10 most important qualities that I need to implement in both my professional and personal life if I am to be to be more successful’ that I read about each week – and they are always a different set of 10! Fortunately I was able to get past the challenging headline and was able to identify one common characteristic that has been identified in really effective leaders.As part of their journey in identifying the 33 CEO characteristics that inspire employees (which can be found on the Bain & Co. website), the researchers found that ‘centeredness’ was the most important for inspiring employees.
What is ‘centeredness’, you may well ask
Centeredness involves being completely aware of your present situation and using your abilities to deal with issues. This makes sense, but is a lot harder than it sounds. Think about a stressful situation that you’ve been in recently – even if you ended up with a great outcome, you probably had moments where your judgement became clouded and you weren’t able to use your full mental alertness and strengths to tackle the problem. You were probably stressed, agitated and anxious – none of which are productive emotions. It would have been at this point that I am sure most of you would then have found a way to take a breath, step back and refocus your attention on the issue at hand. You became present in the situation.
Becoming better at being centered takes practice, but if we keep doing these kind of stress busting exercises regularly we’ll have a better grasp of our situation, meaning that we’ll be in a better position to apply our skills when they are most needed.
As we head into the start of a new year, give it a try. Practice being present (centeredness) on your lunch break, before bed or when you wake up in the morning. You can find plenty of tutorials online that can be as short as 5 or 10 minutes to help you practice this skill. See how you like it, and see how it impacts your leadership – you’ll probably find it brings plenty of other benefits to your life too!