13 Ways to make the positive difference you want to every day

While every good leader wants to make a positive contribution and difference to others, many wish there was more time to dedicate and give to others.

Are we too busy to invest time in what we value the most?

Going from one thing to another, getting through emails, going to meetings, and feeling under pressure to deliver more with less, is exhausting. Operating on autopilot means that we’re in our head, focusing on ourselves, coping as best we can with the demands on our ‘to do’ list.

Busyness isn’t a phase.  We’re not going to get less busy. We can’t control the whirlwind of busyness.

The only thing we control is ourselves. Being in our head and listening to ourselves, kills the opportunity to connect with others and have meaningful conversations and interactions.

  • Are others perceiving you in the way you want them to?
  • Are you making the positive impact on others you want to have?
  • If your answers are ‘no’ to the above questions, what is getting in the way?

Research tells us that we’re not as aware as we think we are. In fact, only 10-15% of people are self-aware¹.

Our energy, language, tone, manner, and behaviour all create impact. We feel that impact from others, in terms of these same things. It takes self-awareness to appreciate the impact we have on others. The gap between your positive intention and impact is probably greater than you think.

How we react, respond and show up for others has a far greater impact than we think.

Your leadership effectiveness will always be a function of what you’re prepared to give to others. The first step in being less busy is to ‘get out of your head’ and reinvest that emotional energy into being present to others. Judith Glasser (who developed conversational IQ) discovered that we tune out of conversations every 12-18 seconds. We have to be mindful of continually tuning back in.

You can’t contribute and impact someone positively if you’re not connecting meaningfully with them.  We can’t be too ‘busy’ to meaningfully connect with each other.

At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel. Maya Angelou

We can’t create time; we can only invest it differently. We have to make the time we have count. It’s about the quality of connection and interactions we have as we move through our day, not the quantity of time we give.  

Pete told me “I need my team to step up if we’re going to achieve these aggressive goals”, so I asked him “What are your 1-1’s with your reports typically like?”. Turns out the conversations were task focused. Pete saw the lost opportunity. He realigned his 1-1’s to prioritise time for growth and development. He started to ask his team more questions to stretch their thinking. His relationships improved and his team leaned into more initiative and responsibility.

Which of these ways could help you more meaningfully connect in with others as you move through your day?

  • Start your 1-1’s with what’s ‘on top’ for people (how they are thinking and feeling about the work they are doing) before you get to the work stuff.
  • Take time to pause and give someone your full attention (people know when you’re not present)
  • Quieten down your inner voice so you can consciously tune into and listen to someone else’s voice
  • Don’t get distracted by devices. You can listen effectively and do other work at the same time. No one is superhuman!
  • Manage your emotions so they don’t manage you
  • Ask questions and explore someone else’s thinking before you share yours
  • Be curious and strive to find value in what others have to say
  • Manage your ego and give up the need to be right, justify your view, and have the last word
  • Prioritise time to connect in person (rather than in written form)
  • Turn on the video option on when conferencing others
  • Acknowledge others by sharing positive feedback.
  • Take the time to self-reflect: Did I show up today in the way I want others to perceive me?

What are more ways you connect in with people to create quality interactions and conversations?  Quality interactions and conversations create the opportunity for us to positively contribute and make a difference.

When you connect in meaningfully, it shows that you care. This is the side of your leadership that your people want to see the most. The upside? You get to make the difference to others you want to.

What are you going to choose to be more mindful of? I’d love to know.

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