Thursday, 25 June 2015 11:40

Choose your worries wisely

I’ve always thought it sensible to focus one’s efforts where there was most likelihood of getting the results one wanted. 

Steven Covey wrote about it elegantly when he described a Circle of Concern which encompasses all our concerns, whatever they may be; for our health, our children’s education, the poaching of rhino or the increase in terrorism. Within it, there is a Circle of Influence, in which lie the things over which we have some control, either directly or indirectly. Proactive people operate in their Circle of Influence, working on things they can do something about. In Covey’s words their energy is ‘positive, enlarging and magnifying’. 

At a time when we need as much of it as possible, positive energy is often in rather short supply, overtaken by too much focus on possible problems and feelings of victimization. 

At work, whether leader or follower, your behaviour is one thing, and maybe the only thing, you can guarantee will be in your personal Circle of Influence. As an employee, you can choose to spend your energy worrying about being retrenched, or on developing and applying your skill set so you are recognised as irreplaceable. 

As a leader, you can worry about results over which you usually have limited control, or you can focus on your own leadership behaviour, helping your people grow, develop and become more productive. As business pressure increases, the focus on results grows more intense. We set goals and targets, design tracking mechanisms and measurements, and when people don’t measure up, we use the disciplinary process to punish them.  This creates punitive and destructive cultures with a negative energy and even less likelihood of achieving their desired goals. 

The words of the Serenity Prayer are pertinent, and poetic. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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  • Topic: Building Relationships, Toxic People, Managing Relationships

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