Leaders have so many distractions to contend with throughout the day. Although technology has helped the metals industry evolve, a potential drawback is that these new tools and communication methods can make it difficult for you to stay focused. It’s common to be distracted by countless email alerts, text messages, and calendar notifications pinging your phone throughout the day; not to mention the many other areas demanding your attention. It’s more important than ever to become a more focused leader.
Levels of Focus
A focused leader is more than someone who can think about something while ignoring the many distractions happening around them. If you really want to embody focused leadership, then you need to cultivate awareness and emotional intelligence. This takes a balance of focusing on yourself, others, and the wider world.
Self-Awareness and Mindfulness
Emotional intelligence is built on the foundation of self-awareness. Focusing inward enables leaders to make better professional decisions and leverage more resources. The essence of self-awareness is concentrating on the internal psychological signals, or the subtle gut feelings that tend to tell us what could be right or wrong. Self-awareness allows you to give input and receive valuable feedback. Being aware of your inner experience through mindfulness can also help you become less reactive and more calm. One basic tenant of mindfulness is that when you feel your mind wander, bring your attention back to the present moment. Over time this gives you more self-control and expands your sense of empathy.
Empathy and Service to Others
Natural leaders can focus on others and find common ground. Unfortunately, many leaders are competent enough for executive-level roles but lack the empathy needed to understand other people’s perspectives, feel what others are feeling, and sense what they need to meet their goals. This level of awareness is an outgrowth of a high level of self-awareness. Building relationships is an essential aspect of effective leadership. Balancing your attention on other people’s perspectives, feelings, and needs allows you to develop a solid moral-compass that is a cornerstone of great leadership.
Attention to the Wider World
Another level of awareness that leaders must develop is an outward attention to the world around them. Outward focus involves analyzing how the decisions that you make today will play out in the future. This can often help us find new solutions to problems we are facing. It’s essential to be able to hold a higher view of the system while also being a part of co-creating within that system. This is the level where innovation and creativity occur. It’s important to make time to let your mind wander. In this space truly expanded thinking can occur.
Focused leaders have a developed sense of self-awareness, consideration of others, and attention on the wider world. Through these expanded levels of awareness, they are able to stay calm and have self-control, understand what others need from them, and let unimportant distractions fall away so their minds can be free to experience inspiration and innovation.
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