Everyone that’s still breathing is thinking about something. We think about what to eat, when to eat, what we should wear, what we will watch on TV tonight. We think about what other people think about us, we think about and make judgements about other people. We think about losing weight, starting to exercise or eating ice cream.
We all have this dialog going on in our heads. We have conversations about all kinds of things going on in our lives. That’s pretty normal, but leaders think about a lot of other things. Leader’s don’t get stuck in the web of our day to thinking. Leader’s think about what could be, what should be and how to get there.
So here are four things that most leaders are thinking about:
- Leaders think about the future. Leaders are custodians of the future. They are thinking about what’s next? What could be our next big challenge? What needs to change to get us there? Why is this the direction we need to go? How can we keep moving in that direction? What steps do we need to take to get there? They think beyond what is directly in front of them. Leaders are always thinking about a better future. Great leaders are optimistic about the future not pessimistic.
- Leaders think about their team. If your a good leader you know you can’t do it alone. Leaders are always thinking about the people on their team or in their organization. They think about if they are in the right seat, they think about how to help them get better at what they are doing. Leaders are constantly thinking about who can help them get to that preferred future.
- Leader’s think about goals. Leaders set goals because they know it will keep them focused. In order to set good goals you have to know where you want to go and the goals you set help get your there. So leaders are thinking strategically about what behaviors, actions and initiatives will get us closer to that vision for a better future. Great leaders not only think about goals but they write them down and require their team to do the same and then holds the team including themselves accountable to achieving those goals.
- Leaders think about learning and improving. The best leaders know they have a lot more to learn and look for opportunities to learn from others. That’s why most leaders are readers. They devour books, listen to podcasts, read articles and posts from other leaders and organizations. All that reading and listening helps the leader to stretch their thinking about the future and discover changes that need to be made in their personal lives and professional lives and in the life of their organization in order to move toward that preferred future.
Of course leaders think about a lot of other things but these four are near the top. Leaders also set aside time to think. Leaders that are so busy they can’t sit down and think deeply tend to be pulled to the urgent and can miss great opportunities and make bad decisions. Schedule time into your calendar to think, read, listen and write. That time will sharpen you and your organization.