Does your team see you as a dynamic and influential leader with gravitas? Is that how you are viewed by people higher up the chain of command?
Valerie Pierce, Author of the book ‘FOCUS: The Art of Clear Thinking’, has spent the past 20 years teaching business professionals the power of clear thinking in order to succeed. Here she sets out five simple techniques used by competent and effective business leaders.
Leading others is difficult, particularly when your work environment is complex and ever changing. And the task of delivering an excellent leadership presence, while living core corporate values, mission and goals is no easy task. Too often indecision and inaction may occur, leading to difficult communication and an inability to solve problems and make decisions.
In this article I would like to offer you some simple techniques to assist you in problem solving, decision making and influence – the three most important skills in competent leaders. With these skills you can achieve the focus you need to get things done quickly, and on time.
Here are five easy, thoughtful actions to ensure success.
Have a Clear Purpose
To achieve goals we must be specific. The reason for this is that it is impossible to think towards a moving target. If we keep changing our goal, then we are also demanding of our brain to continually change its focus. Before leading others – sit quietly for five minutes and write down all the aspects of your problem situation to decide where the real problem lies and what you need to do about it.
Be Present to your Need
This follows on from being clear about your specific goal. When you are aware of what you really need to achieve, it will help you to prioritise what is the most important action to begin with and gives you a structure for the tasks you demand of others.
Use Your Passion to Control your Emotions
There is a simple reason why this is so: as we strive towards a goal, our passion for the project overcomes problems, as it focuses on the pleasure of achieving. Our emotions, however, can be overwhelmed by problems as we feel the pain to our ego of a potential loss of the goal. To retain strong leadership presence, keep your focus on what you want to achieve. Passion is one of the most persuasive attributes of successful leadership.
Use your Negative Thinking to Achieve Positive Action
One of the most valuable assets we have is our Negative Thinking – far from negative thinking leading to negativity, negative thinking is the stimulus that can free our imagination to achieve exactly what we want. Using the phrase ‘Why not = How to’ you can stimulate the powerful imagination of all in your team to focus on how to achieve your goal. For if you look at all the reasons why you cannot do something, you will notice that you have a ‘how to’ plan to do it – for in overcoming each of the listed obstacles, you are getting closer to your goal.
Use Cool Logic in Hot Situations to Reach your Goal
This skill is most important in displaying a strong leadership presence, for so many of us can begin with a clear focus on our goals, but then be persuaded by the uncertainty or doubt of ourselves, or others, to lose that clear direction. Using ‘Cool Logic in Hot Situations’ means that you direct all conversations towards progressing the goal you want to reach in an objective and purposeful way. Concentrate on the ‘issue’ and not on the ‘egos’ around the table.
About Valerie Pierce:
Valerie Pierce, MA, MSc, FIITD, is Creator of Clear & Critical Thinking Training Modules and Professor of Practice at Ashridge/Hult International Business School.
For more information and insights visit www.clearthinkinginaction.com