As a leader, you have a myriad of things that vie for your attention; many things that you feel, or others suggest, you need to focus on. Here is a short list:
- Process improvements
- New product/service development
- Customer Service
I bet at least part of this list resonates with you, and I bet you could add a bunch more to this list.
And . . .
It is pretty hard to “focus” on multiple things at once, isn’t it? In reality, when we have a list of things, we aren’t focusing, we are (constantly) shifting our focus.
So how do we overcome the conundrum of lots of important things and not knowing what to focus on?
We focus on something different than anything on the list above (or likely, your list). We put our focus on others.
Remarkable Leaders put their focus on others. Here are seven reasons why:
- We can’t do it alone anyway. Let’s start with the most obvious of all – we can’t do all the stuff that needs to be done alone; even if we tried. And if we can, we don’t need a team, so we aren’t a leader. Leadership is about the outcomes, but those must be reached through others.
- We win when they win. If you are going to focus on others, you must fundamentally believe this. You must believe that when you serve others, your needs will be met, your goals will be reached and you will recognized appropriately. True and lasting victory comes from helping others win too.
- We build trust when we focus on others. Trust is a powerful lever for team and organization success. When trust is higher, job satisfaction, productivity, and much more is improved. If you want to build trust with others, focus on them and trust them first.
- We build relationships when we focus on others. There is a direct correlation between the strength of a relationship and the amount of trust that exists in that relationship. As we build trust, we build relationships. Solid working relationships create better results. How do you build a relationship? You are interested in, listen to, and care about them. Sounds like other-focus to me.
- We are more influential when we focus on others. As leaders, we can’t force or compel people to take any action, or if we can, it is for a limited time and there will likely be other unforeseen consequences. We can’t control people, we can only influence them. Who is most successful in influencing you? Someone who you know understands your needs and situation. Someone who wants the best for you. someone who is on your side of the table. How can we do those things unless we are focused on others?
- We reap engaged team members when we focus on others. This is profoundly true. People want to work with and for people that they know believe and care about them and have their best interests at heart. Not only can we do those and still lead successfully, when we do them we have the chance to lead at the highest level.
- We succeed at everything on “the list” when we focus on others. Look back at the list of things you “need to focus on” that I mentioned at the start of this article. If you intentionally and purposefully focus on those around you, will those things all go better? While I’m not saying you should ignore or completely delegate those things, what I am saying is that if you focus on others first, the rest will be more successful, more of the time.
I could make a longer list of reasons why placing your focus on others is the right choice, but any one of the above is reason enough. Our role as a leader is to aid, support, guide and help others reach valuable goals and outcomes. When we remember that and focus on them and their needs, we’ll get better results for the organization, the team, and yes, ourselves.
What must a leader focus on?