Lead Well: 8 Ways to Sharpen Our People Focus

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. [Proverbs 27:17]
Everyday we interact with others. Everyday how we deal with these interactions can help us win friends and influence people. Or maybe not.

Some people seem to be naturally gifted in building relationships, handling confrontation, harnessing the opportunities that new encounters can bring. Some of us aren’t. Instead we focus more on ourselves, our interests, our point of view, our growth and our need for affirmation.

To lead well in life is to turn the focus from ourselves on to other people. To intentionally think of them. To take responsibility for playing our part which in reality is the only part we can take responsibility for.

Smile. Costs nothing to give.

Remember names. Who enjoys being called by the wrong one.

Speak words of encouragement. Specific words show we have noticed something someone has done well.

Believe the best of people. This is the difference when we focus on others and not ourselves. We can be too keen to protect our own position because we believe in us more than others.

Recognise the power of having the right people around you. People can work with you, help you to grow, stop you from making mistakes, and keep you on track with all you want to accomplish.

Pass on what you know to someone. Help others to grow. Pour into another what you have had poured into you.

The best of relationships take time and effort. Building anything takes time and great relationships are no different. Don’t compare the depth of your friendships with people with the ones they have with others. Just be a friend, serving and loving them the best you can.

Help people to know you better. It’s not that people don’t like me, it’s that they don’t understand me. Or I could put it another way and say it’s that they don’t know me well enough.

When we focus on these things we sharpen others. We make them better. We brighten their countenance. We lift them. We put a smile on their face. We put a spring in their step. We become someone known as someone who is all about helping others to flourish. 

The alternative is way too selfish and doesn’t bear thinking about.

How do you sharpen your people focus?

The Apprentice Rule

I was reminded about this recently from a number of different sources ~ who is my apprentice? Who am I investing my life in to, pouring my life in, spending time with so that they can learn from me. Not just words, books or articles but through experience and opportunity to.

When we write our story too often we want to be the protagonist, the main character, the hero. Instead we should place ourselves in the role of the guide, the one that this character looks for, the one to learn from, the one who can help make sense and bring order from the chaos.

Play this role. Find someone who can be the hero, the one who has the potential to go beyond your own achievements, that certain individual who just needs the right voice, challenge and encouragement to help see that potential fulfilled.

So question yourself. Who is my apprentice? Who is the learner in my world? Then ask yourself, when was the last time you purposefully sat with them and spoke any words of wisdom to them? When was the last time you included them?

If we all did this for one we would soon have a sea of champions, not just willing but ready and able to bring the change, the dream, the vision, their adventure to fruition. What a privilege to help make this happen.

Who are you doing this for? Who did/does this for you?

Just One

This is not a new thought, but I have been reminded recently about the power of the one.

Who is the one person that you can encourage today?

Instead of waiting for someone to encourage you, be the one who brings encouragement to another

Who is the one person you can pray for today?

Instead of waiting for someone to pray for you, be the one who prays for another.

Who is the one person you can invest in today?

Instead of waiting for someone to invest in you, be the one who passes on some wisdom, an insight, some learning, something that you know to another.

Who is the person you can…come alongside, help out, support, give to, learn from, include, forgive, give a smile to, comfort, listen to, do something for, love?

Instead of waiting, often impatiently for others to be all of these to you, lets be the ones who decide that regardless of everything else, we are going to be the ones that make a difference.

How is your Influence?

When was the last time you reflected on your influence?

Who influences you?
Who do you influence?

John Maxwell says that leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. Without it you are not a leader. The disappointing factor is that many would-be leaders forget this.

You will be influencing.
Whether it is the right kind of influence is what you need to assess. Influence MUST be intentional. Ask yourself…who can you influence today? In what way will you influence someone to make it worthwhile?

Your ability to influence is essential to your success.

1. Think about who your are influencing
2. Look around at those who are in your crowd
3. Decide who you could invest in & be intentional about how you will influence them
4. Go for it