Be Generous With Your Attention
September 27, 2022
A few days ago, I was chatting with a senior industry leader and an ex-colleague. He talked to me about how much of his day goes into one-on-one conversations with members of his team and the organization at large and how exhausting it is to engage with people with full involvement.
The conversation struck a chord for me.
One essential facet of leadership is paying attention to those around you.
- What are they doing?
- What issues are they grappling with?
- What are they trying to make happen?
- What do they care about, and what matters to them?
You cannot know the answers to all of these questions until you take the time to listen, pay attention to what everyone has to say, and have a genuine desire to understand.
Philosopher Simone Weil said something beautiful- “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”
The essence of leadership is generosity. It’s about how much you care about the people you lead. You get to show your leadership daily- at work, with family, and with the community. The most valuable thing you can do as a leader is to be generous with your attention when engaging with people. If you do this consistently, it can sometimes be emotionally draining- as it was for my friend.
Being able to pay generous attention to people and enabling them to succeed is the privilege of leadership.
So how well do you pay attention to the people around you?