I frequently write and speak about the essential qualities leaders need to develop in themselves in order to succeed in work and in life. As a consultant and coach, I guide people in the mortgage industry on their personal characteristics as much as I do their business acumen in the industry. Before you become a better leader, you’ve got to become a better person. But, there is one skill I often emphasize that is absolutely vital for success both personally and professionally–and that is the ability to focus.
It has been said that success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration–that those who accomplish things are simply those who work hard. While I think that’s true, I think focus is the very foundation of hard work. Hard work is simply focus in motion. If you can’t maintain the discipline to concentrate on a problem and see it through to its solution, you will never get anything done. If, on the other hand, you can develop the ability to screen out distractions and home in on the task you are engaged in until it’s complete, you can accomplish wonders. Here are three reasons why focus matters in leadership.
First, developing the ability to focus can make your more effective. It will help you get the right things done. As a leader in the industry, you are going to be inundated with all sorts of things that could monopolize your time. You are going to have people who want to meet with you, products and services you’ll need to consider using, industry news and information you will need to review, and business decisions you’ll need to think through. Maintaining a sense of focus will help you prioritize, do what matters most, delegate what you can, and disregard what isn’t important for accomplishing your goals. If you want to accomplish the things that matter most, you need to have the ability to focus on them.
Secondly, strengthening your sense of focus can make you more efficient. It will help you get things done right. When you are working on an issue, you will no doubt face countless interruptions. If you don’t have a strong sense of focus, you will let yourself get sidetracked and the issue will take much longer to resolve. If, however, you can focus on the task you are working on without letting interruptions distract you, you’ll be able to finish it in much less time. Moreover, you’ll probably do a much better job, because you will have been concentrating thoroughly on what you were doing. Focus helps you do your work better.
Finally, maintaining an aura of focus can set the appropriate example for your team. The workplace can easily disintegrate into a flurry of water cooler conversations, with people simply checking their watches and waiting for five o’clock. Distraction is the enemy of productivity. If your people see that you are focusing on your work, they will be inspired to focus on theirs. As the leader, people will follow your example. What kind of example are you setting? Are you focusing on your work? The ability to focus can be a game changer, not just for you, but for everyone on your team–bringing success to your company and new life to the industry.
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