Why A Non-Anxious Presence Matters?

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Your non-anxious presence matters a ton. One of my favorite books on leadership is Failure of Nerve by Edwin H. Friedman.  Friedman discusses the importance of having a non-anxious presence at home and at work.

There is something strengthening about a leader who is able to empower his people without projecting worry.  I notice a huge difference at home when I am able to present a strong, non anxious presence for my children. The same is true for those I get to lead.

The reason a non anxious presence matters is that teams need to see and experience the calmness of the leader in the midst of the storm.  Your organization may be going through a massive change right now and your team expects you to remain clear.

A few quotes to consider from Friedman:

1) “The two dimensions of America’s leadership rut, the conceptual and the emotional, are inextricably linked.  The emotional climate of a society affects not only the models it conceives and clings to; it also influences what information we consider important and which issues attract our attention…The way out of the rut is about relationships, from a focus on techniques that motivate, to the leader’s own presence.”

2) “The leader who has clarity about his or her own life goals and therefore someone who is less likely to become lost in the anxious emotional processes swirling about.  I mean someone who can be separate while still remaining connected, and therefore can maintain a modifying non anxious and sometimes challenging presence.”

3) “The question may not be: ‘how do I motivate my people?’ to ‘how do I regulate myself?’

What does create anxiety then for your team?

Data creates anxiety because it is one measure that can always be found to lack in some area.  I have told you before to use data wisely and have it connect with your purpose.  Consider the other measures of success.

Change creates anxiety because the security of the old creates the facade that life is about safety vs. risk and adventure.

Conflict creates anxiety because we do not want to be disliked.

In the midst of all of this your non-anxious clear presence matters. It starts by answering the question “Who Am I?” and continues with “Where do I want to go? and ends with “Why am I here?”  Stay connected to that and do not let the anxiety infect you and manage it well before your team.