Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Focused Leader

In the table of contents for the December 2013 Harvard Business Review is the following teaser: "The Focussed Leader.  Great leaders have learned to focus their attention in three ways: on themselves, on others, and on the wider world."

Isn't that pretty much everything!  So, great leaders have learned to focus on everything?  I am confused by the word 'focus' in this context.  What is it supposed to mean?  Having read the article I still unclear as to why the word 'focus' is used.

This is a Daniel Goldman article.  He is one of the chief proponents of the essentialness of emotional intelligence.  He assumes that people with high emotional intelligence are good for business and people with low emotional intelligence are bad.  He says "People who lack social sensitivity are easy to spot - at least for other people.  They are the clueless among us."  He points out that if they just put some effort into it, they could develop emotional empathy.   I've known plenty of people who fit this description.  They are almost never clueless.  Actually, these geeks are often extraordinary problem solvers who have an astonishing capacity to stay focussed.  But they just don't care what opinion you happen to have, or how you feel.  Those things are irrelevant to the problem they are solving.  They are after facts not feelings.

What a truly great leader does is put into place a process for operating the business that recognizes the extraordinary value of having different types of people engaged.  The process enables the people to be highly effective by dealing with their shortcomings and leveraging their talents and differences.  That is precisely what we deliver with Behavioral Advantage.  We give leaders the tools to implement this sort of process.

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