A Leader’s Area of Focus

A Leader’s Area of Focus

One of the key areas in which the leader must focus is the nurturing and development of future and current leaders. Your focus must be on the areas that are by their very nature difficult and uncertain. You must be comfortable and confident with your own company. Because others will shy away from, if they think your assignment may fail. Sometimes you will be a majority of one. Even when all around you doubt you and think you’re crazy for taking such a big risk. As a leader, you must go into the areas where there is the greatest risk of failure or the greatest need for success. Embrace your fears and move forward. Lead from the front and others will follow.

As a point to begin a discussion these are my thoughts on Leadership, which can best be described using an acronyms.

Vision: Seeing the big picture, knowing where you are going, why you are going there, and how you’ll get there is essential. Reasons come first answers come second. Let nothing that doesn’t violate a law or your character keep you from your goal.

Optimism: Having a sense that everything will work out and exhibiting that to staff is essential. Looking for the good and doable in every situation is reassuring to staff. All eyes are on the leader when things are difficult. You are both guide and cheerleader.

Trust: It is difficult at best to earn the trust of staff and once lost it can never be regained. Without the trust of your staff you have nothing and are ineffectual as aneffective leader. Trust is an all or nothing proposition. People must know what you stand for. Trust must be earned.

Expedite: Doing things when they need to be done is important, regardless of their pleasantness or unpleasantness. You must act quickly and not wait for all the data to come in. Go with seventy percent of the information needed.

In many ways the leader of the future will be a kin to the ancient Samurai, skilled with weapons music, painting, poetry, and a master at reading the environment that surrounds him/her. Miyamoto Musashi, in his classic guide to strategy “The Five Rings” offers the following guidelines for leadership.

  1. Do not think dishonestly. (good character)
  1. The Way (success) is in Training.
  1. Become acquainted with every art. (organizational skills)
  1. Know the Ways of all professionals (working knowledge of all departments in your organization.)
  1. Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters (data).
  1. Develop intuitive judgment (trust your gut feeling) and understanding for everything
  1. Perceive those things which cannot be seen (trust your senses).
  1. Pay attention even to trifles. (small details)
  1. Do nothing which is of no use (keeps you from your goal).

Cross training is critical to your success. If you are a generalist find a specialty, if you are a specialist become more of a generalist. Everything you have learned in life you will draw upon as a leader.

By John Benson

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