Leadership: (noun) the action of leading a group or an organisation, or the ability to do so.
Author and psychologist Daniel Goleman Ph.D in an article named “The Focused Leader”, says focus - on you, focusing on others, and focusing on the wider world—sheds new light on the practice of many essential leadership skills.
Focusing is a verb, an action, which is imperative to supporting a role of strong leadership. While multitasking is an important skill, it also has a downside. Surrounded by a fast, agile and a disruptive world the ability to optimise productive work and personal time is a constant challenge.
Through experience and my journey so far, I understand the importance of ‘self-focus’. The balance of personal and professional development and management is a moving goal post. Swing too far one way or the other and things will break or at least crack. Leaders who achieve, set goals and are not afraid to review goals to ensure they are supporting a short, medium or long-term vision. Meandering on a day-to-day basis, or worse year-to-year may mean you are meeting everyone else’s’ goals but your very own. Channeling your time, energy, thinking and efforts into what really matters to you will help you stay focused and conscious of turning dreams into a reality. Your vision may include deeper relationships with loved ones, implementing a health and well-being program for a stronger mind and body or ensuring your continuous professional development plans are supporting your goals.
Swing too far one way or the other and things will break or at least crack. Leaders who achieve, set goals and are not afraid to review goals to ensure they are supporting a short, medium or long-term vision.
Focusing on others underpins the continuous development of contemporary leaders. In my opinion others will identify you as a leader, long before you recognise you are leading. Sound emotional intelligence, authenticity and offering genuine support and understanding, all contribute to enabling other leaders. Strong leaders influence and empower others to develop their own leadership skills, no matter what their title, age, gender, and level of confidence or experience. Successful leaders provide an environment of ‘no fear’ and a focus on giving a voice and the gift of time to the people they are leading. They challenge and have the ability to bring ‘power to other people.’
Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us realise our untapped love for it — and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections. Filmed in 2008 at a TED Conference, Benjamin presented on ‘The transformative power of classical music.’ His presentation is funny, informative and moving, but it is his goal of asking, “who am I being that I may have eyes shining back at me” which is the most powerful lesson of influencing and demonstrating great leadership of others.
Strong leaders eat innovation, different points of view and challenges for breakfast.
Focusing on the wider world comes without bias, preconceptions or inertia. Strong leaders eat innovation, different points of view and challenges for breakfast. To be actively curious on all that is going on around you and to constantly drive for excellence in everything you do and contribute to - can be contagious for those you are leading. Focusing on your network of friends, colleagues and peers and focus on building connections outside of this network, outside of your industry and outside of your social and cultural experiences. As Daniel Goleman Ph.D refers, give yourself time to focus and strategise. Start the process again with self-focus. Are you getting enough sleep, downtime and support from others, which will enable your big thinking?
True leadership is a never-ending journey of focus and continual tweaking, changing path when required and the continuous learning of contemporary practices for you, from others and for others. Focus on not just leading your followers, but turning your followers into leaders. The process of focus should be circular.
This guest post was written by Amanda Terranova.
Amanda is the Marketing + Communications Director at ACC and she loves sharing the stories of the individuals and the organisations she works with. Her passion for connecting with like-minded individuals, sharing her knowledge, and her infectious enthusiasm make her a brilliant persona to have as a mentor and supporter in our care industry.
“The Focused Leader” Harvard Business Review, Daniel Goleman Ph.D (2013) https://hbr.org/2013/12/the-focused-leader?cm_sp=Topics-_-Links-_-Read%20These%20First
‘The transformative power of classical music.’ TED Talk, Benjamin Zander (2008) http://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion#t-1226844