An effective leader is a focused leader. A distracted leader greatly limits his or her effectiveness. Instead of leveraging influence, intellect, and inspiration towards a great purpose, a distracted leader divides resources across a plethora of priorities. A distracted leader commonly diffuses attention and focus and chases too many goals. Distractions can come masked as “good opportunities,” but if they pull you off mission, they are distractions nonetheless. So how do you avoid being a distracted leader? These four practices can help:
1. Remember where you add the greatest value
Focused leaders have a healthy understanding of who they are, of where they make the biggest contribution. Distracted leaders are typically confused leaders, not only confused about priorities but also confused about themselves – confused about their gifting and passion. To be focused and to remain focused, remember where you add the greatest value. If you are unsure, ask others you trust and reflect on where you have made the biggest impact in the past.
2. Keep your top goals in front of you
If you don’t have a list of goals or current top priorities, then it is highly unlikely you are a focused leader. But having goals and filing them away is very different from using them as a filter for decisions and actions. If you keep your top goals in front of you, they are much more likely to become a filter for what you say “yes” to and of where you invest your time. Chose several important goals and then let those goals boss you around.
3. Always align to the mission and values of your ministry or organization
When you goals and your gifting are in sync with the mission and values of the ministry or organization, then focus and impact are exponentially multiplied. If your goals are not in sync, then you are in the wrong place. If you don’t align to the mission and values of your team’s culture, not only will you be distracted, but you will also be a distraction.
4. Filter learning through your context
Yes, it is true that “leaders are readers” and that great leaders show “learning agility” – the ability to acquire and assimilate new information and scale their leadership. But there are times when new learning can unintentionally pull leaders away from effectiveness. Undisciplined and unfocused leaders can read one book or listen to one podcast and attempt to change the entire direction of their ministry or organization. Learn but filter and apply learning through your context, through your goals, and through how God has designed you as a leader.
As your focus increases so does your effectiveness.