Another Definition of Leadership…

By Ken Garner
In January 16, 2014

If you’re like me you spend time reading anything you find on the topic of “leadership”. Don’t we all aspire to be great leaders? The problem is that the related literature is inexhaustible. There’s no end to it. Never-the-less, an article in the 12/13 issue of HBR caught my attention – “A Primary Task of Leadership is to Direct Attention” by Daniel Goleman. How do great leaders stay focused in the midst of the constant bombardment of information from all forms of media? The answer to this question, and the essence of the article is that great leaders focus their attention in only three ways – on themselves, on others, and on the world around them. An oversimplification? Possibly. “Paying Attention to Yourself” is a reference to Emotional Intelligence; that is, the ability to develop a level of self-awareness that enables you to make better decisions. The “ability to focus on others” depends on your ability to cultivate and develop cognitive empathy, the ability to understand another person’s perspective; emotional empathy, the ability to feel what someone else feels; and empathic concern, the ability to sense what another person needs from you. These abilities enable you to develop and maintain healthy, productive, and mutually beneficial relationships. Finally, the ability to focus outwardly on the world around us enables us to improve our ability to innovate and strategize. As an exercise, designate a period of time to monitor those things you pay attention to… e-mail, radio, television, books, etc and attempt to place the content into one or more of these categories. The content that falls outside of these categories may be candidates for elimination. Food for thought.


Ken Garner

President & CEO Ken Garner joined Epicomm – then the Association of Marketing Service Providers – in November 2008 as its President and CEO after a 33 year career in the printing industry – all with the same company. He joined United Litho, a heatset web magazine printing company, after receiving his undergraduate degree. Working his way up the corporate ladder from janitor/delivery driver he held a variety of jobs including V.P of Operations and V.P. of Sales and Marketing. He spent the last 12 years of his printing career as United Litho’s president. In 1994, he engineered the sale of the company to the Sheridan Group and became a member of its Leadership Team.

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