“If you want to succeed as a leader… You must attend to what is relevant to who you are and what you are to become, shut out everything else, and have a working reminder of this.” Dr. Henry Cloud
The difference between an average leader and a great leader so often comes down to focus. A great leader focuses the bulk of his time and energy in the areas where he is uniquely gifted and delegates everything else. Here are the three things you must do to succeed as a leader:
1. Attend to what is relevant to who you are and what you are to become.
You will make your greatest impact in life where you are gifted. Instead of working hard to become a generalist, figure out what you are called to do and devote as much time as possible to doing it.
- All: Figure out who you are and what you are to become. Where do Desire, Opportunity, and Affirmation intersect in your life?
- Parents: Help your kids figure out who they are and what they are to become.
- Pastors: What are the three things that you are most gifted in and love to do? Spend almost all of your time in these three areas. Find other people to do everything else. Hire them. Find volunteers. Whatever you have to do.
2. Shut out everything else.
Once you have clarity on who you are and what you are to become, (I didn’t figure this out until my mid-thirties) you must figure out how to stop doing nearly everything else.
In a previous post, Three things you should stop doing ASAP, I unpack four kinds of things you can spend time doing as a leader.
- Things that you are BAD at and no one will pay you to do them. (Stop it)
- Things that you are OK at but no one will pay you to do them. (Hobbies)
- Things that you are GOOD at and people will pay you to do them. (DANGER)
- Things that you are uniquely GIFTED and CALLED to do. (Great Leaders)
The most dangerous category by far is number three. Usually, you can’t make a living in areas 1 and 2. You could spend your whole work life, however, in category three doing things that you are fairly good at and getting paid to do them. But in doing so you will likely miss out on what you are UNIQUELY Called and Gifted to do. Have you considered what you are uniquely called and gifted to do? What can you and only you can do? This is where you will make your greatest contribution as a leader. You have to give up things that you may be good enough to get paid to do in order to do what you are uniquely called to do.
3. Have a Working Reminder.
What will you do to stay focused on what you are uniquely called and gifted to do? One tool that will help you do this is the Ideal Week Exercise. Check it out.
Remember: Great leaders attend to what is relevant to who they are and what they are to become, shut out everything else, and have a working reminder of this.