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Mindful : April 2014
April 2014 mindful 67 Two mindful business advisors answer your workplace questions How Do I Get Noticed Around Here? Scenario: Managing distraction (without taking away people’s phones) Categorize under: Effective meetings Advisor: Michael Carroll In today’s business world, with all its speed, distractibility and stress, people are discovering that “human attention” is one of our most valued workplace assets. Here are three sugges- tions for getting—and respect- ing—people’s attention during daily work meetings. Listen: We all know what it looks like when someone’s not listening: rambling on, repeat- ing a point of view, spacing out, fiddling with devices, even behaving as though they “know” what we’re about to say. But when someone truly listens, we sense a respectful attentive- ness to more than our words— there’s an aler tness to our be- ing, tone of voice, body posture, and more. Not surprisingly, too, when we listen, people tend to offer their attention in return. By genuinely listening, whether in meetings or generally at work, we model and foster the atten- tive availability we all seek. Invite: Business meetings are as much about helping others make their points as they are about making our own. Invite people to par ticipate by asking questions, summarizing discussion, asking for clarifi- cation, appreciating insights, and encouraging dialogue. By actively helping the meet- ing take shape, we invite and encourage people to par ticipate and offer their attention. Appreciate: While some people are preoccupied with their devices, talk incessantly, or appear to be thinking of things other than the work at hand, there are many who do not behave this way. Be sure to recognize those who offer their attentiveness and openness. Appreciate those who listen and invite their voices to shape the conversation. Michael Carroll is the author of Fearless at Work. Scenario: Getting the higher-ups to see the value in your employee Categorize under: Middle management Advisor: Janice Marturano Assessing the value of a per- son’s work is not a straightfor- ward process. There are many factors to take into account in gauging someone’s contribu- tion, and managers can var y widely in their views about what mat ters most. It will be helpful, then, to have a ver y open con- versation with your boss about what you see as your direct repor t’s strengths. You may want to focus specifically on the aspects of his per formance that most suppor t what your boss needs. Before you star t the con- versation, though, take some time to consider what facts support your assessment. What are the tangible and intangible at tributes that lead to your conclusion that he or she does excellent work? Why might your boss see it differently? Are you and your boss aligned on what are the most valuable contribu- tions employees need to make? Is there any chance that you are getting in the way of people above you seeing how valuable your employee is? It’s natural for us to bring our own filters, likes, and dislikes into our assessments of staff members. You become a better leader when you leave space to reflect on how you’re reaching your conclusions before you share them with others—in informal discussions or formal evaluations. Having a little bit of nonjudgmental space is vitally important when we’re assess- ing those we perceive as strong per formers, and it’s even more important in assessing those we think are not pulling their weight. ● Janice Marturano of the Institute for Mindful Leadership is the author of Finding the Space to Lead. You become a better leader when you leave space to reflect before sharing conclusions and insights. in practice at work