One of the main tasks of leader is to direct attention. For that reason leaders must learn to focus their own attention. When we talk about being focused, we commonly mean thinking about one thing while filtering out distractions. Recent research in neuroscience shows that we focus in many ways, for different purposes, drawing on different neural pathways – some of which work in concert, while others tend to stand in opposition.
Grouping these modes of attention into three broad buckets – focusing on yourself, focusing on others, and focusing on the wider world – sheds new light on the practice of many essential leadership skills. Focusing inward and focusing constructively on others helps leaders cultivate the primary elements of emotional intelligence. A fuller understanding of how they focus on the wider world can improve their ability to devise strategy, innovate, and manage organizations.
Every leader needs to cultivate this triad of awareness, in abundance and in the proper balance, because a failure to focus inward leaves you rudderless, a failure to focus on others renders you clueless, and a failure to focus outward may leave you blindsided.
All this in details in described by Daniel Goleman in HBR The Focused Leader article.