One of the philosophies of leadership that NewPointe Community Church has embraced is to narrow the focus. This has also been a person goal of mine as I try to improve my own leadership ability. So why would this be an important way to grow as a leader?
One of the ways a leader can become ineffective is when they become distracted. That happens when a leader is trying to spin too many plates at one time. When you try to lead multiple priorities you become less effective, because your mind must try to bounce from one priority to the next.
It can be the same way in our personal lives. When we are running it too many directions we feel less effective as parents, spouses and friends. The busier we become the more our important relationships suffer.
Paul talks about this in Philippians chapter 3. Paul openly communicated his priorities. All the achievements and culture of his past he counted as rubbish, in order to gain Christ. He wanted to know Christ, experience His power, share in and complete His sufferings, and ultimately be conformed to His death (Phil. 3:10,11). Here is a man on a mission. He narrowed his focus to the essentials. Leaders who change the world have this kind of sharp focus.
So what does it take to gain the focus required to become a truly effective leader? The keys are priorities and concentration. Author John Maxwell says “A leader who knows his priorities but lacks concentration knows what to do, but never gets it done. A leader with concentration but no priorities has excellence without progress.” When a leader can do both of these well he can achieve some great things.
Paul did three things:
- He discerned what was holding him back – In other words he learned to let go of some things he once cherished, because they were distracting him from the most important things. Sometimes we need to say no to some really good things in order to do the best things. We also need to look at any bad habits that are holding us back as well.
- He discovered what he wanted – Paul’s burning desire was a close relationship with Christ. That became his solitary pursuit. He accomplished some great things with that as his main focus in life. He became a great leader, writer, and visionary communicating the Good News about Jesus to the world.
- He determined how to get it – He put together a strategy of narrowing his focus and concentrating on the main thing as much as he possibly could.
So here are some takeaways for all of us to improve our focus:
- Work on Yourself – You are your greatest asset, so you need to spend a good bit of your time working on your own growth. Leaders that stop learning and growing don’t make an impact on the world around them. Great leaders have a personal growth plan.
- Work on your Priorities – Can you name your top 3 priorities in your life? Does what you say and what you do line up? When was the last time you wrote down the top three priorities in each of the important areas of your life (Family, God, Work, Community, School, Friendship). Great leader know their top priorities and look at them daily.
- Work on your Strengths – It is very hard to improve your areas of weakness. That is why it is so important to know your strength and surround yourself with people that are strong in your areas of weakness. Write down your top three strengths and then list three ways you can work on those areas. Great leaders know and work within their areas of strength.
- Work with your colleagues – Team leadership is by far more effective than leading on your own. Build the team around you whether at work, home, church or community. When you invest in other people you build relationships that can help you accomplish the important things. Great leaders develop other people.
How can you narrow the focus in your life? What do you need to stop doing? What do you need to start doing? What do you need to do more of? What are your priorities? What do you need to concentrate on?