The 'Bigger Picture' of Being a Leader

A couple of months ago, I learned a painful lesson which made me realise the importance of focusing on 'the bigger picture' of whatever I’m doing. 

I was preparing to facilitate a leadership workshop for over 200 managers at one of New Zealand’s largest companies. As this was a pilot program being launched, the company’s course development team kept wanting to change the workbook and power point slides up until a few days before the event. In preparing myself, I spent 8 full hours matching the power point slide numbers to the workbook page numbers. In other words, I was focussed on getting the details right and making sure I knew exactly what slide went with what page. 

After a full day with my nose buried in the details, I found out the page numbers I'd carefully matched up had been changed again by the development team, and all my work ended up having been a waste of time. 

Although I was extremely frustrated at the time, I later had a good laugh at the irony of me leading a workshop called 'Understanding the Bigger Picture', while I was focusing on the minute details. I spent the rest of my preparation time choosing to put my focus where it should have been in the first place: on the larger concepts I would be explaining to the managers. 

So, how well do you manage to stay focussed on 'the bigger picture' of your purpose and mission as a leader in your organisation? 

Your main job as a leader is to be a guiding light and wayshower to others. Ideally, you inspire and empower people with your 'voice of leadership', transforming their lack of clarity and confidence into hopefulness and resolve in moving forward. 

As a leader, do you ever stop to think about how many balls you need to juggle at once? It’s not easy to stay focussed on your organisation's vision and mission while you’re trying to manage all the details as well. 

Just take a moment to think about all the areas of your business that you need to keep your eye on. 

You’ve got about 10 or more priorities to handle: 

1. Vision/ Mission/ Strategy
2. Marketing/Sales
3. Finances
4. Administration
5. Professional Development
6. Competition
7. Technology
8. Research
9. The Economy
10. Compliance 

So, how are you managing to handle all of these areas? Chances are, if you're like most leaders, you do drop a few balls from time to time. Often, it’s impossible to keep your eye on all the important things at once. 

When you're overwhelmed with all you have to juggle, I recommend focusing on 'the bigger picture', that is...your message, mission, and vision...the primary reason you do what you do in the first place. 

When you're focused on the bigger picture, the small stuff doesn't seem so overwhelming. Yes, the details are important, but it does no good to focus on the details if it means you lose sight of the bigger picture. As a leader, holding on to the larger vision and direction is one of your main responsibilities. 

Thankfully, I managed to hold onto the 'bigger picture' during the leadership workshop I led and it was successful and well-received. I also learned some important lessons as well: 

Being a leader means holding the vision for your organisation and reminding your team of that vision to keep them moving together in the right direction. 

Being a leader means embracing the wider perspective, while your team navigate the narrow paths dealing with the details. 

Being a leader means juggling various 'balls' or responsibilities at the same time and being a source of inspiration to your team. 

Sally Mabelle, ‘The Voice of Leadership’ Specialist.  -  Inspiring clear, confident, and connected communication for personal and cultural transformation.