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The 3 “Be’s” of leadership

3 simple steps you should be taking to be grounded, effective and grateful.

4 min read


The Making of a Manager
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During my many years as a corporate leader, and more recently as an executive coach, I have experienced the pain of watching leaders react and succumb to the stress and volatility of today’s global workplace.

There is no debate that in today’s chaotic and “high-flying” environment, the role of a leader can present many daunting challenges. Yet that same ecosystem can offer significant opportunities for a leader to excel in their role and have a critical impact.

It all comes down to the strategy the leader utilizes to “ground” their perspective in relation to their environment, their organization, their team and themselves. One approach I apply with myself and my clients is to practice the “3 ‘Be’s’ of Leadership.”

1. BE present

Leaders should be keenly aware of each moment so that they are actively attending to what is going on around them.

With distractions easy to find and hide behind in today’s workplace, leaders need to create an environment that is spotless from any such diversions. Set aside a period of time each day that is considered “sacred and sterile” and focus on the person, team or situation you have in front of you. Listen to what they are saying. Listen to understand and not to reply. This attention to being present will, in turn, pivot your perspective from a reactive to a proactive mode.

This is easier to write about than to implement, so start out with creating your “Spotless Seconds” — short bursts of time, (i.e. seconds), that are free of any interruptions. I guarantee you will see a difference in your clarity of thoughts and subsequent actions.

2. BE deliberate

Leaders should be deliberate with each action, decision and act of communication.

With leaders being pulled in every direction and needing to respond quickly to the many questions and issues that arise, it is very easy for leaders to answer on “auto-pilot” and not think through their thoughts and actions. However, by creating “Spotless Seconds” to attend to what is front of you, a leader can be very deliberate in their actions, their responses, and their decisions.

Think about the purpose of why you are doing what you are doing in that second, and then think about the desired outcome you want to achieve with that purposeful action. By taking a moment to be deliberate about your next step and aligning that with your desired outcome, you will set yourself apart as a deliberate and thoughtful leader from the many others who are leading by “accident.”

3. BE grateful

Leaders should realize that it is not all about “me” by releasing their ego and expressing their gratitude on a daily basis.

When creating your un-interrupted time, your “Spotless Seconds,” use that time to express your gratitude to your organization, your team, and to your community. Having a leadership role is an honor and not a burden.

So many leaders do not express their gratefulness for being in a role that enables them to enact change, influence outcomes and generally make a difference in the world. That has to stop. Leaders should say a genuine “thank-you” to their peers, their clients, their team members, their managers, their vendors, and to their stakeholders.

It takes such a short amount of time to say “thanks,” so make that a part of your “Spotless Seconds” and help move the gratitude needle forward, second-by-second.


Paul Larsen, MA, CPPC, is a certified professional performance coach and an experienced leadership consultant and speaker. He has over 30 years’ business experience with executive and senior-level responsibilities within small and large companies, including being the chief HR officer for a $3 billion organization. Larsen partners with industry-wide leaders and teams from Fortune 100, startup, and high-tech environments to find their unique leadership “voice” and create compelling and purposeful outcomes for their organizations. He has a proven track record with organizations such as SAP, Electronic Arts, Twitter, and Walmart. Read more about Larsen and his latest book, “Finding Your VOICE as a Leader.”

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