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The Real Focus of Successful Leaders

Control, for the most part, is illusion.

What happens when you try to control something outside your control?

  1. Anxiety.
  2. Stress.
  3. Fear.
  4. Frustration.
  5. Pressuring.
  6. Manipulation.
  7. Resentment.

Control as manipulation:

Attempts to control things outside our power – like people – always results in manipulation.

  1. Bully. Threats, anger, belittling, and guilt are all bullying.
  2. Isolation. Hiding in the office is a childish attempt to control things you don’t like.
  3. Avoid or procrastinate. Avoidance is weakness grasping for control.
  4. Promote self-doubt. Insecure people are easily manipulated. Keep people uncertain, insecure, and in the dark.
  5. Limit. Make people feel their only options are acquiescence, agreement, and ratification.
  6. Punish or reward.
  7. Pressure. Set artificial deadlines for others, rather than with others, for example.

Successful leaders choose goals within their control:

  1. Effort.
  2. Focus.
  3. Direction.
  4. Words.
  5. Planning.
  6. Commitments.
  7. Behaviors.


Results are produced by behaviors.

Focus on behaviors that produce results.

Make commitments that describe behaviors.

  1. Result – close two sales. Goal – call ten clients.
  2. Result – build a positive culture with gratitude. Goal – give one personal affirmation every day.
  3. Result – maintain forward focus. Goal – end all conversations with, “What’s next.”

Don’t commit to goals that are outside your control.

Leadership’s goal:

Leadership goal: Engage in behaviors that enable others to take action.

Leaders ask themselves, “How do my behaviors influence others?”

The challenging questions of leadership include:

  1. What must I do? Don’t hide behind what you want others to do.
  2. Who do I aspire to become? Aspiration for others is often a distracting smoke screen.
  3. How might I serve in ways that energize, enable, and release others?

You can influence others; you can’t control them. Successful leaders focus on behaviors that influence the choices, commitments, and behaviors of others. 

How might leaders focus more on behaviors within their control?

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