Does this describe you:
- You are inherently goal seeking.
- Everything you do has purpose because purposeful action is efficient.
- Each step you take has been filtered and evaluated; you’ve determined that a step in this direction directly affects your journey toward achieving the end result.
- While you might appreciate scenery and detours in theory, you understand that these are novelties, not necessities.
- Like a missile honing in on a target, you advance toward your goals with precision and consistency.
If this sounds like you, then you have the strength of Focus.
The Elusiveness of Focus
It’s extremely easy these days to get side tracked. If you haven’t checked Facebook in 20 minutes, you might be missing something hilarious, there are always Tweets to be tweeted, and if you don’t consistently keep up with your favorite blogs you’ll just have way too much reading to do on the weekend.
Not to mention the consistent flood and consequent overflow both your professional and personal inboxes experience, the necessity of checking your texts and responding, and getting up to date on everyone’s day with their Snapchat story.
With all of that going on, how does anyone maintain focus?
If we are all being honest, some of us just don’t. We would need ten magnifying glasses glued to our heads at all times to keep us from getting distracted. And even then, there are a few folks who would miraculously find a way to lose focus anyway (including yours truly).
That being said, most of us can muster it up when it’s crunch time and get things done with minimal distraction. Chances are, after all that intentional focusing, we are exhausted. It’s a lot of effort to block out, filter and resist the temptation of all the rabbit holes along the way.
>>> That is unless you have the strength of Focus.
Hitting the Bullseye
Their recipe for success:
- People with Focus are always guided by the question “Where am I going?” How can you create a plan to get “there” if there is no “there?”
- They constantly create goals that help them track and measure success and stay the course.
- They do not shoot unless it’s straight for the bullseye.
As a leader, this is extremely helpful, especially for the people described above. Having someone kindly turn you in the right direction and remind you where the target is can be extremely valuable, not just to you, but the team as a whole. Besides the day to day distraction, leaders with Focus help provide guidance in a larger, big picture sense.
Sometimes, as we move along getting this task done, and then another, followed by another, it’s hard to recall why it’s all relevant. Focus leaders instinctively evaluate the value of each action toward reaching the end goal, which they can then relay to their team.
By keeping everyone on the path and avoiding aimless wandering, they also set their team up for success as one that delivers on time and produces results.
Avoiding Tunnel Vision
Leading with a lack of sophistication around your Focus strength can have the exact opposite effect of keeping your team engaged. Perhaps the most frustrating thing for Focus is not having a clear target to aim at.
We have all experienced work environments where deliverables and expectations are ambiguous at best – this is especially trying for Focus.
A sophisticated Focus will be able to manage-up and help their leaders stay on track toward defining clear goals, not only for their team, but the department or organization as a whole.
As a close second on the frustrations list for Focus are obstacles. Anything that delays, sidetracks, or causes tangential discussions will be a hot button. For an unsophisticated Focus, that might translate into an intense micro-managing situation and an imposition of work-style onto your team.
There are very few people who work well under such intense pressure, and frankly, lack of respect. If life is full of lemons, work life is overflowing with them. It’s important for leaders with Focus to understand where flexibility is required, and to create strategies that allow them to act accordingly.
Whether that’s leaning on another of their strengths, like Adaptability, Arranger, or Strategic, or leveraging a teammate, it’s important for Focus leaders to avoid becoming so consumed with their tunnel vision, they become one with the tunnel.
Are you a leader with Focus? Do you find you have an easier go of completing tasks despite distraction? Do you set yourself goals daily, weekly, monthly, all of the above? As a leader, have you found challenges keeping your team on task? How do you make room for inefficiencies or flexibility? Have you ever been accused of micromanaging?
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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders™
Alexsys “Lexy” Thompson is Managing Partner at Fokal Fusion
She helps building Strong Leaders through Strong People Strategy
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