Presence: The Root of True Listening By Steve Taubman

Having interviewed many top network marketing leaders, both in the field and at the corporate level, I’ve noticed consistent qualities among them, which create energy that permeates the culture of their entire organization.

If there’s truth to the assertion that your leadership has a direct and indirect effect on every individual on your team, two questions arise…

First, which qualities promote the greatest degree of cooperation, enthusiasm, and consistency?

And second, how can you enhance those positive qualities you’d like to see duplicated?

Let’s take each question in turn:

Which qualities promote the greatest degree of cooperation, enthusiasm, and consistency?

In study after study, survey after survey, the answers to this question are consistent. We want our leaders to be…

  1. Approachable… Even if we never get to meet you in person, we want to know we could.
  2. Self-deprecating… We know you’re amazing and powerful, but don’t act as you know it.
  3. Visionary… We need to know you have a goal, a vision, a clear picture of where we’re headed.
  4. Unflappable… We’re watching you make sure you’re level headed and never lose your cool.
  5. Transparent… If we think you’re keeping secrets from us, you’ll lose all our trust immediately.
  6. Wise… We have ideas, but we count on you to tell us which are worthwhile and which aren’t.
  7. And above all…Interested… We’ll bend over backward for you if you listen to us with respect and curiosity.

Be a model worthy of imitation, not just in your actions, but in your attitudes, which are always far more obvious than you realize. Assume that your every thought and mood is being registered by those around you…and that they’re passing them on down the line.

And most importantly, listen to your team as if they’re the most important people in the world!

How can you enhance those positive qualities you’d like to see duplicated?

The unifying quality which makes all seven of the above possible is something called PRESENCE.

Great leadership, that which transcends mere management and becomes the stuff of inspiration, is the natural consequence of one person showing up in a way most people never do….present.

Presence is a quality of deep attention, awareness, and acceptance. Also known as mindfulness, presence implies that your mind is neither tethered to the past nor the future. When you and I are communicating,

I know your level of presence by the intensity of your attention to me. I can tell, that you’re really listening!

Presence can’t be faked. All the eye contact and reflective listening techniques in the world won’t substitute for a moment of pure presence. We all have an inner radar for when someone is looking us right in the eye and never hearing a word we’re saying. When that happens, we know it. We feel it.

Those who lean on listening techniques they read somewhere, as a substitute for real presence, may think they’re getting away with it, but that’s never the case. If you’re not truly engaged with someone; if you’re preoccupied with another matter while sharing space with someone, they’ll feel it and, however unconsciously, be affected by it. That lack of presence will then spread through your organization like the flu.

Presence is a practiced skill. Mindfulness meditation, moments of deliberate attention, and the willingness to fight the inertia of your whirling mind are tools to achieve presence.

Investing even ten minutes a day in presence-producing activities will have immediate and tangible benefits that you’ll see in the faces of those around you and in your company at large.

In organizations where presence is introduced, there is always a commensurate increase in productivity and morale.

So, rather than investing your time in listening techniques and tricks to create the illusion of true attention, invest in practicing the art of presence. It’ll produce much greater dividends for you and those you serve.

Your organization is overflowing with untapped potential. Leading with presence will give you access to that potential. It will also lower your attrition, deepen your team’s commitment, create a more authentic workplace, and increase your bottom line.

Put differently, presence is just good business!

Steve Taubman
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