Did that catch your attention? It’s actually true!
The mugging happened on my way home from a training day just before Christmas – outside my own front door, whilst my mind focussed on preparations for the festive season.
This week I went to give a statement to the police about what happened.
This got me contemplating the theme of attention and the main areas of my training work:
- What are the things that we do and don’t pay attention to as managers and leaders?
- When working with people with dementia what do we focus on – the person or their behaviour?
- When listening to others – do we pay attention to the words or the feelings underneath?
Managers/Leaders – What do you see?
“Failing to plan, is planning to fail.”
As we work under increasing pressure, though, do we risk placing our attention on the doing and keeping up with deadlines at the risk of effective planning?
Managing and leading staff and volunteers is one of the greatest privileges of the job – yet it also engenders great responsibility and poses its own challenges.
Praise creates far more motivation and increased performance than negativity and criticism.
Yet many staff I meet tell me how they feel unrecognised and devalued. That all their manager can tell them is: ‘do better,’ ‘work harder’ or, worse still, only discuss performance when things go wrong.
- What do you spend most of your time focussing on? Is it what your people are doing well or what they need to be doing better?
- Do you look out for those ‘small examples’ of how they are doing a great job, or do you mainly notice what they are doing wrong?
- Do you pay attention to your people and how they are doing every day or just when you happen to have a 1:2:1 or supervision session?
Take this example:
You notice whilst passing a colleague that their desk is untidy, papers appearing disorganised. What is your first thought: ‘What a mess! They obviously can’t cope with the pressure and can’t think clearly.”
Imagine a garden with beautiful plants and flowers – if the gardener ignores them, forgetting to feed and water the plants, eventually they will become overgrown with weeds and potentially wither and die.
Through just a few moments of attention given to this lady she had increased her sense of well-being long after the moment itself had passed.
|Circle of Influence-Circle of Concern|
|Focus on the Problem/Concern|
For example, if I focus on the concern that I have only 2 more days to prepare my presentation for an important conference, the more stressed I become.
I just pay attention to the ticking clock and feel more and more out of control.
|Focus on what we can Influence|
Alternatively, if I focus on what I can influence I may feel more empowered:
“OK, not much time left, but if I ask Sue to research the latest statistics for me only, that will be one less thing for me to do. Oh, and if I delegate attending this afternoon’s meeting to Asad it will raise his profile and free up a few extra hours for me to edit my slides from last time…” And so on.
So where we place our attention can have a real impact on ourselves and others.
We just need to ask whether we are focusing on the important things.
Over to You – Release Your Potential
These are my thoughts and perspectives about focus and what we pay attention to. What are yours?
- What have you learned as a manager/leader about paying attention (or not)?
- What have you learned through caring for a person with dementia about paying attention?
- What have you learned about yourself about paying attention?
Contact me for further information about how I can help you and/or your organisation around the themes raised in this blog at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at: www.mikephillipstraining.co.uk