Six Ways We are Tapped Out and not Tuned In
This is the second in a series of exploring the main diversions and distractions that keep us from being our best leaders.
and having them grow their focus and leadership? None of this is our intention.
We are TAPPED out for controlling our focus. Below are six of the main diversions or reasons I have discovered in my work as an Executive Coach with leaders in the corporate world.
Because of these diversion and distractions we miss our most important targets: the main people in our life. Each distraction has disciplined action strategies to regain your focus and intentional actions.
T = Task over empathy or person
A = Automatic responses
P = Power
P = Procrastination
D = Distractions
In this blog I cover the last three diversions with disciplined actions to recapture your focus. The first three were explored in the previous blog. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/leading-emotional-intelligence/201404/diversions-and-distractions-are-you-tapped-out
1. P = Procrastination: Many leaders state their most challenging part of the work is dealing with the people issues. It easier to focus on the analytical problems versus the people problems. The difficult conversation or constructive feedback gets put off because is uncomfortable and or leaders don’t feel as skilled in this area. In a recent Huff Post article they shared research that 100% of CEO’s would want executive coaching but only 50% are receiving it. What they want is support for conflict management and communication. Douglas LaBier in Huff Post, November, 2013, writes:
“The higher up you go in companies, the more you're dealing with psychological and relational issues. Successful CEO leadership requires astuteness about others: their emotional and strategic personal drivers; their self-interest, overt and covert.”
It is easy for successful leaders to put off problems they don’t feel competent in.
Disciplined action: Give constant and regular feedback to your direct reports especially about what is working and their progress. If something is not up to par talk about what you want to see “more of” from them. The tough conversations will be less as performance issues when they are dealt with right away and not left to when they become a big issue.
2. E= Energy: If you don’t have energy the last thing you want to focus on is the people issues. People are very unpredictable and the leader has no idea of what will come out someone’s mouth which they may not be prepared for.
Let’s face it, people issues are very draining. These challenges are too easy to avoid if you are exhausted, stressed and burn out. The potential empathic and development conversation doesn’t get the attention or focus it needs. If you do focus on it when you are drained the chances are that it won’t turn out well.
Disciplined action: What is most recharging for yourself and do you do it regularly? For some people this is exercise, socializing, relaxing with a paper a book or cross –word puzzle, meditation or mindfulness practice.
Each day these routines help you recharge and have quiet time to refocus on what is most important to you. If you don’t manage your energy, your focus on empathy and people will get relegated.
D = Distractions: There are two main types of distractions, one where others interrupt your focus and two where you interrupt your focus and attention. Gloria Mark in the Gallup Business Journal found that we are interrupted every 3 minutes and 44% of the time we do it to ourselves.
A colleague comes into your cubicle or office and says do you have minute. Is it ever just a minute? We train people to interrupt us and it is too rewarding to be the answer person. We do the heavy lifting and thinking rather than helping others think more, slower and better.
Distracting ourselves is the big culprit for how we interrupt ourselves. Some researchers have said the average attention span of adults is 22 seconds. This number will probably go down with each generation. I have caught myself interrupting my progress on a task, email or writing by being defocused with a thought of checking my voice mail for no apparent reason at that moment.
The top barriers for business practitioners were identified as 1) Environmental distractions such as phones ringing, other people talking or the crumpling of a bag. 2) Emotional distractions, such as replaying scenes where we were dissatisfied with the outcome, hurtful or negative comments. We lose our attention to the moment and swim in our unfinished or incomplete emotional interactions.
1. Can you take an hour a day in a meeting with yourself and honor your meeting behaviors, meaning that you are not answering the phone or emails and do your best to not get interrupted. Then focus on the one thing that is the most important thing to get done that day.
2. To deal with your emotional distractions use the IHD process to identify, honor and deliver your feelings, explained in the last blog. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/leading-emotional-intelligence/201405/mass-murders-mountain-mixed-emotions-0
Remember if you stay on automatic you stay average, doing a few micro initiatives though can make you exceptional. Use these actions to tune in to halt your diversions and distractions so you can be your best leader.
To get more information on how to enhance your focus and emotional intelligence, check out: https://truenorth.infusionsoft.com/app/page/eifocus