Xenonex looks at Leaders and ‘Attentional Intelligence’
I came across this article by Sonia McDonald on Attentional Intelligence and how it can help leaders build more effective teams within their organisations, something we at Xenonex do a lot of! I also recently saw
Ruby Wax on stage at Harrogate Theatre discussing her approach to mindfulness – obviously a hot topic at the moment!
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
It, too, as with all intelligence, requires
conscious practice and awareness to grow and develop.
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. Pyschology 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
Where is your attention at the moment?
Xenonex delivers innovative and bespoke client-centred solutions in
Executive Coaching, Leadership Development and training across the UK. We work
at Executive, Senior and Middle Management levels to maximise and transform the
way people work.
To find out more contact Jo Watson, Business Development Manager on
01423 876371 or email firstname.lastname@example.org