This article describes how effective leaders direct their own and their organization’s attention. Grouping these modes of attention into three broad buckets—focusing on yourself, focusing on others, and focusing on the wider world—sheds new light on the practice of many essential leadership skills.
- Focusing on ourself – begins with self-awareness. We, as leaders need to heed our inner voices, so we can draw on more resources to make better decisions and connect with our authentic selves. .
- Focusing on others – We, as leaders, need to effectively focus on others. We strive to find common ground, whose opinions carry the most weight, and with whom other people want to work.
- Focusing on the wider world – We, as leaders, need a strong outward focus by not only being good listeners but also good questioners. We must sense the far-flung consequences of local decisions and imagine how the choices we make today will play out in the future.
To be focused leaders, we must be in touch with our own perspectives and can control our impulses; we are aware of how others see us and understand what others need from us; and we can weed out distractions and envision the future. For more thoughts on how to empower leaders, contributors and teams, check out our business brief.