Whatever else you are doing - STOP! - whenever you engage with someone in conversation. Ignore pagers. Put off interruptions. At the very least make sure that you 'honour' the space that you have when you are in any sort of one-to-one with someone else. If you have ever been in conversation with someone who was being continually interrupted, how did you feel? I guess you felt pretty devalued by their lack of focus on you, what you were saying and the issues you were discussing. In the busy lives we lead it is so difficult not to get disturbed.
Here are some incidences of what you might look out for and beneath, some ideas on how you can do it differently:- - Letting the phone take priority - Having poor boundaries such that others disturb you whatever you would wish for - Letting your boss do this to you - Having an 'always open door' policy - Not apologising and getting back to people if it is that urgent you must be disturbed - Failing to keep appointments for one-to-ones - Being distracted (checking e-mails when on the phone is typical) - Talking too much - Raising your own issues rather than listening fully to others There are more! What you can do to resolve this:- 1. Set standards where interruptees know they must not interrupt you in such circumstances 2. Fully focus on the other person 3.
Find times to talk when you are less likely to be disturbed 4. Don't start a conversation when under time pressure and scoot off before completion (conversely, learn tactics to 'escape' when cornered by especially verbose individuals - just do it nicely!) 5. Close your door and mean it when you want focused one-to-one meetings 6. Have calls held when you are 'people' busy 7. Clear your desk and switch off computer screens 8. If senior management appear unexpectedly, give them feedback to avoid recurrence.
Maintain commitments to your people. 9. Follow through on commitments you make 10. Show how you value people by acknowledging the contribution they make 11. Be consistent The time invested in making people feel valued will make for great team spirit amongst your people and show yourself as a fine leader worthy of excellent followers! The rewards will be immeasurable over time.
©2006 Martin Haworth is a Business and Management Coach. He has hundreds more tips at his website, Coaching Businesses to Success.