Many of us are aware of the term “mindfulness” and what it refers to; the idea of being present and aware or mindful of not only where our thoughts are, but also what we are dealing with in the moment.
Leaders also know that it is what they focus on that, ultimately, is accomplished. Focusing on the past, especially the failures, or worrying about the future, and particularly what may go wrong, only creates overwhelm and confusion, and significantly lowers productivity.
It is impossible to take positive action when your mind is not focused on the task.
Attentional Intelligence is not merely similar to mindfulness. In fact, it is practicing mindfulness regularly that assists in developing your attentional intelligence.
Like all forms of intelligence; academic, emotional or spiritual, whilst you are born with it, each requires work to grow and develop. You learn to read, and you practice reading regularly and your intelligence in that area improves.
As the name implies, attentional intelligence it is how well aware you are of where your attention is focused. Ultimately it is how effective and efficient you are in being in the ‘now’ and mindful not only of your circumstances in each moment, the challenges you are confronting and problems that may require solving, it is also being aware of where your thoughts are.
It, too, as with all intelligence, requires conscious practice and awareness to grow and develop.
Attentionally Intelligent Leaders
Did you know that most workers are distracted as often as every three minutes? Just imagine how much that slows down the team and how often it might put your or your team member at risk! A momentary lapse in attention is all it takes for a workplace accident to happen.
When you come to work with your mind busy on what’s happening at home or worried about something at work, it’s easy to lose your productivity. Psychology Today tells us that “Attention regulates emotion. This little ploy uses selective attention to quiet the agitated amygdala.” It goes on to say that “Executive attention holds the key to self-management.” So, not only does attentional intelligence improve your focus, it helps to quiet the stress noise in your brain which distracts you in the first place.
Attentionally intelligent leaders are for more effective in their role, and produce far more valuable teams. When you can build teams filled with people who have developed heightened attentional intelligence, they are less likely to be affected by productivity stoppers such as stress and overwhelm. They manage themselves better as individuals, which helps build stronger and more focused teams.
Attentional intelligence also hones traits such as focus and creativity, opening your mind, allowing for effective planning, productivity and action in the right direction.
By becoming aware of where your attention is, you have the ability to control it and divert it to the task you need to focus on. We can change the structure and function of our brains by practicing this ability to focus on what we choose to, rather than on what our mind chooses for us. The more often you do this, the more natural the process becomes.
Attentionally intelligent leaders build attentional intelligent teams which, in turn, builds stronger and more productive organisations.
Where is your attention at the moment?