I recently found myself with some unscheduled time, and decided to use it to catch up on reading the latest of Daniel Goleman’s books, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. In my work with nonprofit CEOs, I often draw from Goleman’s insights on emotional intelligence.Focus takes his concepts on EI and re-packages them in a new way, encouraging mindfulness to enhance self-awareness and create needed balance. Focus is defined as a mental asset that is essential for achieving success. It can be trained, like a muscle, to be strong and supportive. In today’s multi-tasking, multi-technology world, it’s easy to think in short spurts (like tweets) rather than about the bigger picture. But good leaders need to be able to do both, and to achieve balance.
Goleman says there are three levels of focus: inner, outer and other. Inner focus incorporates values, intuition, and decision-making capabilities. Outer focus enables existence in the larger world, and other focus governs social interactions and connections. Together, these levels of focus provide guidance, intelligence and navigation. Leaders who are able to cultivate each of these levels tend to be more self-aware, and more able to use their balanced focus to achieve success.
These successful leaders excel at listening to others while creating vision and direction together; coaching others to be better team members; collaborating and building consensus; and building trust.
How can leaders improve their performance and be more successful? Goleman says that by strengthening their focus through mindfulness, leaders can develop the skills to either “zoom in” to the internal environment or “zoom out” to concentrate on the broader perspective, as needed.
I'm looking forward to applying the techniques I possess to encourage mindfulnessand to help my CEO clients achieve balance and focus.