7 Things Successful Leaders Ignore
Your leadership is doomed if you pay attention to everything. Urgency and priority may be separate issues.
Ignore things or waste your leadership on things that don’t matter.
7 things successful leaders ignore:
#1. Ignore occasional failure in others. Let people fail and learn on their own. Pay attention to patterns not isolated incidents.
#2. Ignore insults. People won’t always understand your passion or vision. They may sin against your sincerity, let it go.
#3. Ignore people who say, “I told you so.” They’re jerks.
#4. Ignore guilt from isolated failure. Take responsibility, learn and move forward. Don’t waste energy beating yourself up. The worst failure is allowing failure to hold you back.
#5. Ignore counsel from advisors that don’t ask questions. They’re uninformed, misinformed, or close minded. (A word of caution. Sometimes wise counsel sounds stupid. When people with a proven track record sound stupid, listen again. Ask questions.)
#6. Ignore those who always see the bad and never see good. They’ll drain you.
#7. Ignore feedback that comes from people who don’t understand your role, mission, vision, or values.
Bonus: Ignore people who don’t challenge you. Too much compassion destroys potential.
Ignoring things may be dangerous. Jim Evans commented, “Another way to lose control is to ignore something when you should address it.”
Turn toward things that matter more in order to maximize your potential.
The decision to ignore:
- What do values tell you to ignore? Focus on?
- What do stakeholders and top leadership expect?
- What do experienced leaders advise?
- What patterns do you observe?
- How are you making choices based on what you want rather than what you don’t want?
- What will make you proud six months from now?
- How are you moving toward agreed upon goals?
What should leaders ignore?
How do you decide when to ignore something?
Dan one of my old CEOs and my mentors used to talk about leadership in terms of military titles and personality types. He believed that great Generals/CEOs had to be very smart but also abit lazy. This allowed them to only focus on the top strategic issues or directions while their Major/Colonel (or corporate VPs) execute and modified the Lazy General’s plans to make them work.
So ignoring things to use your term would be easy if you were a bit of a lazy General or CEO!
Brad James http://www.bradszootales.com
Thanks Brad. Interesting use of language, “lazy.” I think I get the point and see how it applies to ignoring things. It also feels a bit like, lazy means keeping out of details and letting people do their jobs. I enjoy your approach to this topic.
Indeed! I was going to add this point! Ignore going deep into minor operational details that will just waste your time, distort your efforts and cause discomfort to other employees or even managers.
Also keep in mind that often the things senior management want (reports, kpi’s) aren’t the most important things you should be doing to achieve success (whatever that may mean to you).
Too often the ‘numbers’ being tracked by senior management are lagging and only come from your ability to focus on what’s important now – to achieve them in the future.
Thanks Rob. Great insights. It’s true that senior management tracks numbers that aren’t as relevant to people who are actually producing results. This doesn’t mean the numbers aren’t important. It means that the focus it takes to produce the numbers my be disconnected from the numbers themselves. Stimulating comment. Thanks
Good evening Dan;
Head in to Sunday eve Service in a few minutes my friend.
Let’s start with, “The P’s”, people, passion, progress, patscience, and BTW, did I say people! @?#!%
Lots of leaders that enjoy unlimited sucsess often over look the little things that got them there. Almost all sucsess stories share these (P’s). To REMAIN sucsessful remember what got you there. Common since, common decency and concern for our fellow man. And here’s my favorite Dan, “Stay true to yourself and NEVER waiver from your own Moral Absolutes.”
Shoot Dan, have a couple more thoughts to share but the lil Mrs says it’s time 2GO… ” You know how those (lil Mis’s) can be,, Speedy-Gonzales!!!!! LOL
Thanks SGT. I appreciate the “P’s” good call. And I think you did say, “People.” 🙂
Another winner! Thanks for the succinct reminders, especially “When people with a proven track record sound stupid, listen again. Ask questions.” Focus is right! Have a great week!
Thanks Dr. Cheng. One of the things that has most changed my leadership is learning to go with someone else’s gut. (When they have experience and/or talent that applies to the context.
This is absolutely priceless!
P.S. FIrst time responder
Thanks Yani. 🙂
I like the overall message I take from this post: Spend your time on things that matter, ignoring those of little distraction or impact on the organization!
Thanks John. It’s easy to get distracted from what matters. We get so busy we miss the point.
Thanks Dan…especially for those projecting negative ions around them continuously !
Thanks Red…. It’s easy to get sucked into a black hole.
Dan, thanks for putting the wind in my sails. I laughed out loud with your “they’re jerks” comment. The development of a thick skin is an absolute necessity when you are trying to lead. I would add ignore meetings for meetings sake and ignore those that say “this is the way we have always done things”. We need to meet for purpose and get to the point when we do. As for those who do things the same way all the time, we need to ignore those who don’t strive to improve process. For me, I decide to ignore when it is laden with negativity and contributes nothing of worth to a conversation. Thanks for a great post
Thanks Steve. Your additions are very helpful. Ineffective or useless meetings is one of the most irritating things leaders allow.
great reminders, worth to be put into short messages to line managers! May I ask for your permission?
ignoring the “Wise guys” seems to me to be ok, if the tell me. If they do tell the team, I would rather adress the topic. They may be toxic to the team and therefore dangerous.
Best wishes from GER!
Thanks Steve. Go for it. Best wishes.
Ignoring counsel from advisors who don’t ask questions is huge. I’ve always been that guy that welcomes criticism and feedback, but I’m learning that not all feedback is helpful feedback and the feedback I really need to listen to is the type that comes from people who love me and want the best for me (whether they agree with me or not).
Good stuff, thank you!
Ryan Zonnefeld — it would seem to me that “too much compassion” is like when as a mom I feel “sorry” for my child and take over their project or homework — in the end it does destroy their potential of figuring how to do the best they can with the time they have.
Thanks gsiepert. Listening to people who aren’t committed to be helpful, isn’t helpful.
Thanks, Dan. As always, you are clearly on target on so many things. Could you provide a little more context for the Bonus? “Too much compassion destroys potential” feels a bit antithetical.
Thanks Ryan. The compassionate people on my team find it difficult to allow people to face challenges that stress people. But, we grow best when we are challenged. When compassion causes us to protect people, we hinder their growth.
Interesting. Who’d have though that ignoring and focusing were so closely intertwined …
Thanks Ben. It seems like they go hand in hand.
Awesome post! Sometimes we do tend to pay unnecessary attention to things we should in fact disregard or ignore. We feel that we are ‘mean’ if we ignore certain ideas or comments from people, when we should completely dismiss them in order for u to further our personal and professional growth.
Thanks Oscar. I can see where ignoring some things might seem mean. I guess this means we should ignore things and be polite at the same time.
Ignore blips. Remember the “rule of twos”: it has to happen more than once to need you to delve into it.
Only ignore people who don’t understand your role once you’re sure you’ve properly explained your role. Otherwise they’re telling you you fouling up.
If you always ignore people who tell you “I told you so” remember that what you are doing is sending the message that you are always right, and won’t take anyone’s advice.
Thanks Mitch. I’m glad you added your insights. I see your point on “I told you so.” Any one who is always right, isn’t.
Also ignore people who never see the best you can do. ignore people who are conscious of your faults and mistakes. they never go far.
Nice post Dan.
Thanks Dan,awesome and helpful post.
As always, I love the advice you give. Leaders are not always a boss. Moms and Dads are leaders. Big sisters and brothers, and aunts and uncles, and neighbors are leaders. Teachers are leaders.
Sometimes we forget that we are supposed to be leading, and not making, not pushing, not coercing, not begging.
And we need to teach our children not to be the “I told you so’s and the insulters.
I find these examples very good for all aspects of leadership, not just in the workplace.
Thanks again Dan for great insight!
Getting out of the “spaghetti ball” made of meaningless details is certainly the way to go. However, it might be difficult for those who report to a couple of micromanagers – but I will not surrender so easy!
Thanks for the heads up when I was almost giving up.
Good leadership is about knowing what to ignore………….i like that
Dan, Time management must be a constant for the effective leader. If leaders get caught up in the whirlwind of minuscule problems that should be handled through delegation to a competent person, he or she will experience a lapse in focus that could result in failure to reach organizational goals.
“Ignoring the little things to provide clarity and focus for the more important issues”
Thank you Dan, great post! Thought provoking!!
Hello Dan, managing what to be focused on is good way to ignore useless and painful impacts on leaders. One more thing is that leaders need to learn manage their expectation as well because things will not going on as we planned. We can’t please everyone so learning to manage expectation is vital for smart leaders.
Thanks so much for sharing this post. That’s amazing!
wow 😀 i came here from Praying Medic’s facebook post .. i loved insight no 5.
Tell me what to pay attention to – Five Things I always should have infront of me always ..
Love from India.