13 November 2014 0 Comments

Leadership Part 14

11-13-14 LII Blog FBContinuing on to the last important trait of a leader—Focus.

Focus

Focus is defined as “the concentration of attention or energy on something.”  In order to focus you must know what that “something” is.  That requires that you know where you have been; where you are now and where you want to go.

If you’re in doubt about your objectives, give it some more thought before proceeding.  Your answer can be broad or pinpointed.  The President of the United States must address the needs of the most powerful nation on earth.  If you are concerned only with leading your minor children through their formative years, your scope is greatly narrowed.  However, the immediate importance to you of being able to lead effectively cannot be overlooked and may be the most important thing for you to accomplish in your life.

Dwelling on the past can be paralyzing.  Move on!  Applying efforts to the tasks at hand and planning for the future is what leaders do.  They also forgive.  Dwelling on transgressions, real or perceived, suffered at the hands of others is a colossal waste of energy and time.  Openly forgiving others can be one of the most cathartic acts you can perform.

When you do look back, let it be a learning experience.  History can often best be used as an indicator of what doesn’t work.  Mistakes made should always be used as a reference for moving forward.  If  circumstances are the same today as they were the last time you or somebody else tried this scheme and it bombed then, what makes you think it’s going to work this time?

Often leaders know where they want to go—what they want to accomplish—before they have reviewed the past or before they are even totally aware of their present position.  They want to move forward!  There may be nothing wrong with that.  It could indicate a leader who is passionate.  But before that forward push goes too far, the wheels should be set in motion to research the past and determine the present before the push forward ends up down an abyss.  Research of history and the present can be delegated to another, but the leader must be totally aware of them to avoid costly mistakes.

Knowledge

Knowledge is strength and leaders must be strong.  Learning your subject is essential.  The more you know about your subject, the better chance you have of being a good leader.  People are much more willing to follow a knowledgeable leader than one who hasn’t bothered to learn his subject.  Bluffing will work for only so long and then you’ll be found out.  In fact, if you don’t know something it’s usually better to admit it than to bluff.

If you lack knowledge you must at least be informed.  When you’re informed, a question on an unfamiliar topic from the audience should never elicit an expression from you of a deer’s eyes in the headlight of an oncoming car.  Not knowing the answer—lack of knowledge—can be acceptable.  Being totally oblivious to the topic raised is unacceptable.

A formal education does not assure a leader of the knowledge required for a particular function.  Often the best source of knowledge comes from experience, self study and observation.  Still, credentials bestowed by accredited institutions of learning are always valuable.

Next…looking at the big picture!

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