Anthony Bourdain Was Right

“If you sit down with people and just say, ‘Hey, what makes you happy? What’s your life like? What do you like to eat?’ more often than not, they will tell you extraordinary things, many of which have nothing to do with food.” 

Anthony Bourdain (1956 – 2018)


I think what the late Anthony Bourdain was saying here is that there is great value in just being present, physically.


8 Minutes Per Day

In following my own advice of getting 8 minutes of good leadership material each day, I ran across this Anthony Bourdain quote from one of my favorite leadership coaches, Kevin Eikenberry.  Kevin sends me a leadership tip every day, and he will do the same for you. It won’t cost you anything, except a few minutes of your time.

Kevin pointed out that leaders often wonder what they can do to start building better relationships with their team members. He recommended that we follow Anthony’s suggestion.

Kevin and Anthony are both right.


Better Relationships

We all want better relationships in our lives and we know that relationships are built on trust.

We also all know that being an effective supervisor, manager or leader requires a high level of trust. Trust is chemistry. Trust is an art. But trust is also proximal. When you spend time with someone and observe their behaviors, body language and expressions, you get to know them on a deeper level than you can through a note, email or video.

It’s hard to trust somebody who you never see. It’s much easier to trust somebody that you see often. Being physically present with people builds trust. Lack of physical presence destroys trust.

You can read all the operations reviews and study all the dashboard performance measures, but there’s nothing quite like walking the floor to get a true sense of how everything is working (or not). Asking questions and honestly, patiently listening to the answers helps you read the pulse of your organization. And yes, build trust.

If you want to create trust, be physically present.


Your Presence Matters

Like so many leaders before you, at first you might think that being physically present is a chore.

To be present is intentional, and in the short run, it can be costly to “put yourself out there” in a different way. To open yourself up to others and connect on some level other than an operations plan draws on a different level of energy as a leader.

Being physically present is a relationship and trust driver.


Just Be Present

I think what the late Anthony Bourdain was saying is there is great value in just being physically present. Presence is part of who you are, not just something you do.

So, Anthony was right.  Just sit down with people and be physically present. More often than not, you will build trust and relationships will flourish.


How About You

Are you tired of missing ideas?  Are you yearning to get “on the floor” and really experience the pulse of your business? Are you so crazed in keeping up that you’ve lost track of how to spend real time with people and understand them, and they you? Are you ready to get out of the squirrel cage and be the kind of leader people feel they know and trust?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, maybe this book, “Must Be Present To Win” can help you!

The concept of being present is practically extinct yet has never been more needed in leadership. If you understand and vigorously live out this idea of being present, it can transform your effectiveness. It can magnify your influence. It can change lives, including your own.

If you want to win the war over the most effective use of your time, you must take it head on.

When you consider who has had the most dramatic impact on you as a person and as a leader, it is almost always someone who was physically present in your life.

You won’t learn this concept in business school. You may not even learn it later in management training or executive development courses. Oddly, the one “it” factor in leadership—being present, fully invested in the moment—is rarely taught.  Add my new book to your summer reading list.