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What Makes For Good Leaders

What differentiates good leaders from not-so-good leaders?

In his 2013 Book Focus, Psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman delves into three specific types of focus all good leaders demonstrate. 

Inner Focus

This refers to one’s ability to monitor their thoughts, feelings, and impulses. Good leaders operate with strong inner focus, where they know how to manage their negative and distressing emotions so that they don’t get in the way of concentrating on the work they are doing. Their ability to make sound decisions without being distracted by worries comes from Inner focus.

Other Focus

Other focus is all about empathy- Having a sense of what the other person is thinking or feeling and relating to the other person’s point of view. Leaders with good Other Focus operate with a high degree of empathy.

Good leaders cultivate and improve their Other Focus by seeking feedback from people you trust about whether they are being empathetic or not.

Outer Focus

The third attribute that good leaders have is a strong system awareness that Daniel Goleman calls Outer Focus. This is the ability to understand the larger forces- like economic/political factors or technology disruptions- that could impact the organization. Leaders derive their power to think strategically from the outer focus. To cultivate their Outer Focus, leaders seek the support of mentors to help them build that big picture view.

If you are in a leadership role and seeking to improve, think of getting better at your Inner Focus, Other Focus, and Outer Focus. 

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