How do you start your day? Do you get up a 5am for a comprehensive workout followed by a healthy breakfast, or do you hit the snooze button to get in 10 more minutes and end up rushing out the door with barely enough time to make an instant coffee? At work do you dive right into emails, or do you actively avoid looking at your inbox before the “serious” work is done? These are just a few (polar opposite) examples of the morning routines of highly successful leaders. On the face of it, the logic of unpacking the habits of successful leaders in order to take a “short cut” to success by copying the path of someone who has been there before is sound (there’s no need to reinvent the wheel). And lately, it seems that morning routines have caught the attention of the leadership development community - “win the morning, and you’ll win the day”.
Upon closer inspection however, it is worth while taking a more critical look at this approach as many of the morning routines that successful leaders have built are dictated by their individual circumstances, that is to say they do what works for them. Yes, studying the behaviours of successful leaders is the right approach, but over emphasising the importance of behaviours such as at the time you wake up, what you eat for breakfast, and when you check your email is counterproductive.
The single behaviour that unites all successful leaders is that they regularly dedicate time in some way to intensive intentional focus on where they are going and the path that will take them there. In the words of the great Stephen Covey - “they begin with the end in mind”. Having recently concluded two large scale leadership coaching assignments with some rising stars across both the Health and Education sectors, I definitely concur with Covey.
Part of each leadership coaching program involved the junior leaders reflecting on the supportive and strategic leadership behavers that they had demonstrated as they transitioned into formalised senior leadership roles. Inevitably, our conversations turned to how the junior leaders kept their own leadership goals in focus, and unsurprisingly many revealed that they had developed a daily habit of intentional reflection. Further probing revealed that many had a question (or three) that they asked themselves each day to keep focused. I’d like to share some of my favourite responses from the junior leaders below, and have added some commentary as to why I believe that they are worthwhile questions for all leaders to regularly reflect on.
Powerful Questions For On Purpose Leadership:
Bringing it together
Successful leaders share a habit of intensive intentional focus on where they are going and the path that will take them there. In a world full of interuptions, there’s never been a more important time to take control of our own focus. What questions should you be asking to maintain daily focus on your leadership development goals?
Have an intentional day!
HR Business Direction can help you and your workforce narrow your focus on Leadership Development.
Alistair Kerr, MPsychOrg; PostGradDip Psych; BPsych
Organisaitonal Development Strategist | Psychologist
07 3890 2066
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