Small Business Leaders: Don’t Avoid the ‘F’ word

Leadership Focus
Feed Your Focus

Anyone leading a business knows there is too much to do. Leadership requires attention to all those ‘p’ words like people, products, promotion  – and the biggest of all: profit.

According to Daniel Goleman, in the “Harvard Business Review,” the most critical aspect of leadership is the ‘f’ word: focus. And he doesn’t mean focusing on the nuts and bolts of management.

Small Business Success, a group of Canadian business consultants and publishers wrote a free e-book  The Small Business Leader – Leadership Strategies for Entrepreneurs.  It includes analysis (the 7 traits of entrepreneurs), warnings (the 5 mistakes leaders make) and suggests the Top 10 Resolutions every small business leader should make.

The number one resolution? Focus. With so much happening every day it’s human to get distracted. Entrepreneurs start with dreams and plans. Then they build a business full of decision points and risks, with stakeholders inside and outside of the organization making it very easy to lose focus.

For a leader to see their way through all that, Daniel Goleman , author of “Emotional Intelligence”, says there are three key areas of focus necessary to achieve business goals. First, the leader has to focus on themselves, second they need to turn that focus onto others and third they need to be able to focus on the wider world  the big picture.  Most of us can manage one or two well, but true leadership requires mastering all three.

“Focusing inward and focusing constructively on others helps leaders cultivate the primary elements of emotional intelligence,” Goleman says. “A fuller understanding of how they focus on the wider world can improve their ability to devise strategy, innovate and manage organizations.

“Every leader needs to cultivate this triad of awareness, in abundance and in the proper balance. A failure to focus inward leaves you rudderless, a failure to focus on others renders you clueless, and a failure to focus outward may leave you blindsided.”

“This,” Goleman says, perhaps understating the case, “is challenging”.  For every leader it’s an intense personal challenge. As business leader Richard Branson said, however, “the principal challenge is always a personal challenge.”

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