The gift of attention

It’s not that he wasn’t listening. He was still in the room and his head was still pointed in my general direction. The problem was that he left the conversation. 

I am certain this has happened to you. You are talking with someone and you can feel their energy and attention pointed at you. They are engaged and thinking critically and they are in the conversation. Then, at some point, they leave. Not physically, but they may as well be physically absent. 

A beep from their phone. A knock on the conference room door. A previously submerged thought resurfaces. And… They are gone. 

Sometimes, they never enter the conversation in a meaningful way in the first place. Sorry, but you can’t listen to me and look at your screen. Doesn’t work. 

The problem is, of course, that I need you to be in the conversation. If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t be here. Queue the frustration. 

Humans are naturally disposed to entertain distraction, and there has never been more distraction available. So, consider your attention a valuable gift. A gift you give the people in your life who need it most. 

Treating it like the gift that it is will separate you from many others. And, the separation is what will give your organization and your team a competitive advantage.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on July 1, 2019

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