How to Avoid the Wreckage of Distracted Leadership

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Our world today is demanding a stop to the dangerous practice of “distracted driving”.

When it comes to leadership effectiveness, there should be a similar call to end “distracted leadership”.

Just as driving while distracted drastically diminishes the ability to drive well, so too does distracted leadership prevent you from leading at your best.

Effective leadership requires clarity of thought. In order to make the timely decision, to accurately assess a complex situation, or quickly respond to a team dysfunction, the leader must be fully dialed in and singularly focused on the issue at hand.

But in today’s increasingly distracted culture, that kind of focus is tough to maintain. Never before have leaders been called upon to split their attention in so many directions simultaneously.

Nonetheless, maintaining a distraction-free leadership environment is critical if you’re going to lead at your very best.

As a starting place, here are three ways you can immediately improve your ability to be a distraction-free leader:

1. Slay the “Multi-tasking” Dragon

Our culture celebrates multi-tasking. It has become a badge of honor to be able to juggle multiple priorities simultaneously. But the math just doesn’t work. Rather than pouring 100% of your focus into a single priority, our world advocates applying 10% of your focus across 10 different priorities.

And you’ll never be at your leadership best if you apply 10% of your energy towards anything.

2. Master Your Devices, Don’t Serve Them.

Nothing will divert your attention quite like your digital devices. When you’re zeroed in on a vital leadership task, but you allow your attention to be sidetracked by your phone, tablet or other device, you’ve just diminished your effectiveness.

By all means, leverage technology to keep you connected, but stop jumping to attention every time one of your devices beeps, buzzes or rings.

3. Always, Always, Always Put People Over Projects

How many times have you found yourself in conversation with someone, only to have a little voice in your head saying, “I gotta get out of this conversation…I have so many projects to do…”

Never allow the rush to your projects take precedence over people.

To be at your leadership best requires you to be relentlessly focused on the job at hand. So simply resolve that you will commit to being singularly attentive to one priority at a time.

Because an effective leader is a distraction-free leader.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Willow Creek Association. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave & Willow and John, Fiona & Will. Lifelong learner.

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