Where is your attention at the moment? What are you focussing on? Will your immediate focus accumulate and make a difference in the world for future generations? At times, like now, it is good to take stock, check where you are at and whether you are serving your ultimate purpose. Many of the interruptions we experience today which impact on our focus come from SMART devices. While they are great at providing information, they do not provide wisdom and intelligence, something that is greatly needed right now! And, Leaders in the 21st century need intelligence! Leadership intelligence relies on your ability to grow, learn and master new ways to lead people through focussed attention. Give yourself this opportunity now to reflect, redesign and lead the way through intelligent leadership skills!
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Albert Einstein
Leaders are NOT well trained
The SAL Report shows that “Australian Leaders have not mastered the fundamentals of Management” and that Australian organisations should be concerned about the state of leadership and management capability. The findings reveal a pattern of mediocre leadership in many organisations that will likely impair their capacity to shift to a knowledge economy and impede their efforts to raise productivity. In essence, Page V11 outlines that “Many Australian leaders are not well-trained for the job.” This means that situations may be encountered that can prove difficult for employees, however it also presents opportunities for change and win-win situations using intelligent leadership. You have an opportunity to lead!
Master Intelligent Leadership Skills
A talent management and HR article by Magi Graziano highlights, “Leadership Intelligence Matters Now.” Being an effective leader of people in today’s world seems to be much more complicated than in years past. In the previous century, for the vast majority, work was approached as a means for survival. The level of employee engagement did not dictate how long they stayed in the role. That’s different today, however. People are always on the lookout for more stimulating and rewarding work, as well as inspiring work environments where they can make a difference and grow themselves and their careers. Global workforce surveys report that highly qualified, motivated people chose to work for companies that build a strong, inspiring culture and that monitor and address both workplace culture and climate issues as they arise. If recruitment and retention of highly qualified, motivated people is one your organization‘s initiatives, leadership intelligence ought to be another. They go hand-in-hand.
Leaders in the early 21st century face unprecedented challenges. They must be able lead three completely different generations of people, all with different operating contexts and outlooks on what work is all about. Today’s leaders must not only understand their competitors for customers, they must also understand their competitors for the talent. 21st century leaders must have well-honed human awareness acumen and call on it moment-by-moment to inspire, enrol and engage their employees. These leaders must understand the systemic impacts of their company ‘climate’ and be willing to look deeper to understand cultural norms that are impeding agility and innovation. They must have the finesse to weave the day-to-day task work into the big picture and inspire their people to give it their all for the sake of the mission. Today’s leaders need to understand people at their core like never before. Leadership intelligence relies on your ability to grow, learn and master new ways to lead people, and there are three tenets to consider when boosting it:
- Executive brain function
- Response agility
Learning the fundamentals of how people operate and how to inspire them is the easy part. Mastering those skills is leadership intelligence. Turning your leadership intelligence into your competitive talent advantage is the number one way to impact recruitment and retention of the best people.
An earlier blog of mine shows that “Great Leaders use Attentional Intelligence.” Many of us are aware of the term “mindfulness” and what it refers to; the idea of being present and aware or mindful of not only where our thoughts are, but also what we are dealing with in the moment. Leaders also know that it is what they focus on that, ultimately, is accomplished. Focusing on the past, especially the failures, or worrying about the future, and particularly what may go wrong, only creates overwhelm and confusion, and significantly lowers productivity. It is impossible to take positive action when your mind is not focused on the task.
Attentional Intelligence is not merely similar to mindfulness. In fact, it is practicing mindfulness regularly that assists in developing your attentional intelligence. Like all forms of intelligence; academic, emotional or spiritual, whilst you are born with it, each requires work to grow and develop. You learn to read, and you practice reading regularly and your intelligence in that area improves. As the name implies, attentional intelligence it is how well aware you are of where your attention is focused. Ultimately it is how effective and efficient you are in being in the ‘now’ and mindful not only of your circumstances in each moment, the challenges you are confronting and problems that may require solving, it is also being aware of where your thoughts are. It, too, as with all intelligence, requires conscious practice and awareness to grow and develop. Did you know that most workers are distracted as often as every three minutes? Just imagine how much that slows down the team and how often it might put your or your team member at risk! A momentary lapse in attention is all it takes for a workplace accident to happen.
When you come to work with your mind busy on what’s happening at home or worried about something at work, it’s easy to lose your productivity. Psychology Today tells us that “Attention regulates emotion. This little ploy uses selective attention to quiet the agitated amygdala.” It goes on to say that “Executive attention holds the key to self-management.” So, not only does attentional intelligence improve your focus, it helps to quiet the stress noise in your brain which distracts you in the first place. Leaders who are attentionally intelligent:
- Are for more effective in their role, and produce far more valuable teams
- Hone traits such as focus and creativity, opening your mind, allowing for effective planning
- Build attentional intelligent teams
Where is your attention at the moment?
TAKE a STEP and improve YOUR Leadership Skills
Now that you understand the importance of intelligent leadership, I am here to support you for your next level of success through three opportunities:
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- improve communication, and
- enhance performance
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Get in touch today to learn more about building leadership skills and set yourself up for success!
Stay Kind. Stay Courageous.