Focus Out – A fundamental skill for effective leadership


If I ask you, ‘What are the main leadership issues you face at work or in community?’ The list may look like:

  • My boss does not listen!
  • My boss tries to micromanage me!
  • My boss does not delegate!
  • My boss does not provide feedback!
  • Our leader is arrogant and does not consult with the team!
  • I feel lost at work as there is no clear direction!

And so on….

Lot of literature has been written and published both on traditional and social media on Leadership. However, good leaders are still difficult to find.  Management current strategies of making their employees happy (work lunches, Friday drinks and paid day-outs) is making little or no improvement in Employee satisfaction surveys. It is also true that most of the projects do not fail due to incompetent staff, technology, change management or project methodology. In fact, they fail due to lack of good leadership.

We all understand that a great leader can build a great company, a great community and a great country. So, the big question is, how can we become a great leader to serve or company, community and country? Well, there is no silver bullet available. However, I am going to share with one of the fundamental skill of effective leadership. I am sure it will help you lead towards greatness.

Here you go!

The Problem

Human beings have a common problem of thinking about themselves majority of time. According to Dale Carnegie, if an individual is not doing any mental activity, almost 95% of time he will be thinking about himself. I certainly find this true in my case. Same concept is true when we are leading team or we are part of a team.

During communication, majority of the times our focus is on, My point of view’, ‘My logic’. When we speak, we tend to focus on, ‘How I am performing?’, ‘If I am being heard?’, ‘Have I made my point clear?’. When we ask for other’s opinion, our self talk (mind) constantly keeps our focus on us. So, while hearing other person, we internally think – I am still right , How can I find issues in what he is saying (offensive)’ OR  ‘What can I say to prove myself right (Defensive)’.

As a result, our focus remains on our self, which hinders good communication, relationship and leadership.

The Solution

While communicating – Focus out on other person’s body language, words, vocabulary, pitch, tone. Encourage others to speak-up. Ask right questions to get their perspective. Remember, by default; your mind will keep focus on you. So, train your mind to focus out. Note that communication is two way process. Your objective is to clearly articulate your perspective and equally important understand other’s perspective.

While delegating – Focus out to analyse key strengths of your direct reports, look history of their experiences and achievements. Determine areas where your direct report needs coaching, mentoring or support. Remember, by default; your mind will tell you, I can do most the tasks better than my direct reports’, ‘It is too hard to explain what is required to be done’. Train your mind to focus out to get back on track and make your team more engaging and productive.

While managing your direct reports – Focus Out to know your team extremely well, build trust, and ask your team to come up with innovative ideas. Remember, by default; your mind will tell you to communicate to your direct reports exactly to do task in your way. So, train your mind to focus out to learn better ways to do given task. Further, understand that two different ways of doing a given task can be equally good.

The Conclusion

This simple rule of focusing out can resolve most of communication, relationship and leadership issues that we face everyday life. It is certainly your first step towards greatness. As we develop this skill, other good qualities of effective leadership like humbleness, gratitude, courage will prosper in our behaviour.

Focusing out is a skill and we all can learn it. We will get better as we practice.

Next Steps

  • Analyse this skill and ask yourself if I agree?
  • If you agree, strongly believe in the rule
  • Practice it every day, and develop this rule in your habit
  • Reap benefits

I am keen to hear your thoughts. Please share your thoughts and leave me a comment.


  1. Love this point! ” Remember, by default; your mind will keep focus on you. So, train your mind to focus out.” A good reminder in an individualistic culture… thanks for the post, and thanks for visiting my blog too 🙂


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