The Three Areas of Leadership Focus
Self-focus, others focus and a wider world focus
Being a leader is continually demanding role. To be effective you not only need to know what to focus on, but also what to not focus on. This is made more complex is that you need focus on and understand yourself, your people or team, and the business environment in which you operate.
Self-focus and others focus on developing your emotional intelligence, and a wider world focus develops your strategic, management and innovation thinking and capacity.
To develop your self-focus you need to develop your self-awareness and your self-control. Your self-awareness is being aware of your ‘inner voice’ and self-control is about keeping and maintaining your attention where it is needed. To develop your self-awareness you need to develop your ability to interpret your gut instinct, whilst also being authentic – being able to look at yourself objectively and compare that to how others perceive you.
To improve your others focus is about focusing your attention on other people, not yourself, and to do this you need to build your empathy and create relationships. There are three distinct types of empathy:
- Cognitive empathy—the ability to understand another person’s perspective
- Emotional empathy—the ability to feel what someone else feels
- Empathic concern—the ability to sense what another person needs from you
You need all three types of empathy and to be able to draw on them as and when you need. This helps you to build strong relationships with other people and helps you to have influence.
Finally, developing a wider world focus helps you develop your strategic thinking and allows you to pursue new ways forward, and to spot and take advantage of opportunities and changes before others. This is especially important as the business environment is becoming increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous; this has meant that you can no longer get the same results from what you have always done. You need to change and anticipate the changes. So type of focus also needs you to develop your creative thinking which includes that you have:
- Vigilance – that you remain alert for relevant information while immersing yourself in all kinds of input
- Selective attention – you focus on one thing while filtering out everything else
- Open awareness – when you keep yourself open to new possibilities as you explore the environment around you.
Each of the three areas of focus – self, others and the wider world – comes together for the greatest effect. Do this for yourself, but also help others to develop their focus in each of the three areas – this will provide you with leverage and opportunities!
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