I Am Here

Last week, I talked about my favorite movie line, “I see you.” Today, I want to talk about the response to this greeting, “Sikhona,” which means, “I am here.” Leaders, take a minute to reflect on this statement and say the words out loud. 

“I am here.”

These words are a call to action. A state of being. An indication of one’s presence.

But, what do they mean to you? Are you present, focused on the tasks at hand, hitting milestones, mission-driven, and developing and motivating your team?

If not, then it’s time. Because good leaders are emotionally present, empowering, and always listening. They provide direction and guidance for their employees to reach their peak performance, have greater influence, run more productive teams, inspire loyalty, and help their organizations achieve greater results.   

They are fluent in recognizing and self-regulating their own emotions and the emotions of others. They are personal. Self-aware. Selfless. Compassionate.

The upside to this kind of leadership is seen in the vast improvement of an employees’ motivation. Accorinding to a recent HBR article, when a leader takes the initiative to connect, employees are 32% more motivated, 46% more satisfied with their job, and perform 16% better overall. The article also shared that there is a global movement of progressive organizations like Accenture, Marriott, and LinkedIn whose leaders ask themselves, “How can we create more people-centered cultures where employees and leaders are more fully satisfied and engaged?” Essentially, leaders who focus on developing greater emotional intelligence become more human. 

"I am here." 

Becoming more human is actually more simple than we think.

A few years back, I knew a leader who joined a growing information technology company as a member of their senior management team. On about day three, he took his lunch to the small lunch room. When he entered, everyone stopped talking and he quickly realized none of his peers were in the room…only administrative staff. Confused, he asked if the lunchroom was private. The answer was, “no, but senior management does not eat here.” 

After two weeks, people were used to him eating in the lunch room. It humanized him and allowed him to learn their perspectives on work, family, and career. And they got to know him as person as well. People felt free to talk and he was free to listen. He learned how the company really worked and how to get things done with the support of his lunchroom buddies (who worked across the company in departments like finance, HR, IT, business development, and proposal management).

Leaders, start your day with the mantra, “I Am Here.” And then, make sure you are. If you’re not, first acknowledge it and then clear what’s in the way. It’s like when you have an argument with someone in the morning and what they said is just bugging you. If you can clear that feeling right away, then you will be more productive and present for the people around you. It’s not always easy to do, but it should still be the focus. 

Because we are all more effective, present, and happy if we can clear issues first and take the time to reshape our day.

Need help or have a question on what it takes to be an effective leader? Reach out. Quest2 is here for you and your team to help you remember you’re human beings! 

michael burke