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5 indicators you've taken your eye off the leadership ball

Scott Cochrane

5 indicators you've taken your eye off the leadership balliStock

One of the most important roles of the leader is to ensure that they, and their team, are keeping their eye on the ball at all times.

That means providing clarity of focus and helping each person know which priorities require attention.

Many years ago this hit me with full force during a particularly hectic season. During this period when I was allowing myself to be distracted by a number of lesser priorities, a department head came to me with a request to remodel their office space.

The plan was within budget, it seemed to be ergonomically sound and it could likely be pulled off with little involvement from me.

There was just one problem.

That department was not performing well. It was not hitting key objectives.

Rather than focusing the team on what really mattered, I was allowing them, and me, to be distracted by a side-show.

I was taking my eye off the leadership ball.

Leaders must keep their eye on the ball at all times.

In a busy season, it's easy for lesser activities to distract a leader, and a team, from what really matters. But ultimately, it's the leader's job to keep everyone focused; to keep everyone's eye on the ball.

Here are 5 indicators that you might have taken your eye off the ball:

1. There is no alignment in your "to do" list

A clear, direct line should run between your daily activities and your most important goals.

2. Your team is vague on today's highest priorities

Every member of your team should be able to state unequivocally how their assignments are furthering the organization's objectives.

3. You are being sidetracked with "busy work"

Busy work are tasks you indulge in which keeps your time occupied, but which does little to advance key objectives.

4. You've been avoiding difficult conversations

In order to keep your team on track it requires clear conversations, where you correct mission-drift.

5. You haven't noticed measurable movement towards key goals

If neither you, nor your team, can point to recent "wins" with respect to key goals, you've likely taken your eye off the ball.

Watch vigilantly for these indicators.

Because when the game really counts, your focus matters more than ever.

Scott Cochrane serves on the executive team for the Willow Creek Association, as Vice President, International Ministries. He was born and raised in Canada, where he became connected to the Willow Creek Association, first as a marketing director and later as the ministry’s Chief Operating Officer. Following a five-year stint as Executive Pastor of a large church, Scott returned to Willow Creek Canada in 2009 as Executive Director, and in 2012 relocated to Illinois to take up his current post with the Willow Creek Association. Learn More »

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