Leadership And The “Top Of Mind” Factor

Readers of this column who want to be better leaders and want the respect of those they work and live with, may benefit by embracing the ‘top of mind factor’. ‘Top of mind’ is an expression that helps to explain the importance of constant conscious effort on our part to put first things first in life. All of us tend to act according to what is top of mind at that moment in time. Our top of mind thinking, feeling and desires tend to dominate our life style and determine our confidence as leaders. If our life style is dominated by negative or self- indulgent habits day after day, week after week, then surely we should not be surprised when we fail to grow as leaders and our performance remains the same.

Leaders set the tone and expectation levels of those they serve.

It is extremely difficult to shake top of mind habits and feelings and replace them at a moment’s notice with something else.

We all need a balanced life style in order to cope but this does not change our need to make sure that our values and positive aspirations are top of mind all the time. In other words we should not allow our need to relax to override our foundational values.

Good leadership is a top of mind profession

The best leaders acquire a habit of ensuring on a daily basis that their values and positive aspirations are not watered down by the pressures of the day. In a country where we experience such high levels of corruption and crime we have to be on the lookout constantly to ensure that our values and what we stand for are not eroded in some form or other. It is a fact of life that our chosen top of mind activities and feelings will determine our performance and life style.

Good leadership requires constant effort to ensure that we follow the best practices day by day, week by week. All leaders need to embark on a process of constant updating of their skills and leadership savvy. We need to learn from experience and from others and apply what we have learned until it becomes part of our leadership characters. By doing this we may be better empowered to have sound top of mind values and practices govern our performance in all areas of life.

Those of us who have been involved in sport activities at a competitive level will understand how much work is needed before we can be confident of positive top of mind reactions under pressure. The same principle applies in our work place.

Top of mind thinking is NOT a one-time course or diploma!

We live in a hurried world where hundreds of influences and pressure vie for our top of mind attention all the time. Every leader and every person has to find ways and means to ensure that their values and positive aspirations are top of mind. The old idea of having a once a year strategy meeting where everybody is motivated for the year is way behind the changing times. Modern leadership and pressures require a constant refreshing and adaptation of plans and priorities.

Invitation to join us in a significant leadership top of mind initiative

Leadership Platform has just launched a significant program that can help leaders and aspiring leaders to keep abreast of the latest in leadership thinking. And this is for free!

We encourage readers to participate in the weekly Leadership Platform show by Adriaan Groenewald on Cliffcentral.com every Monday from 12:00 – 13:00. This is state of the art development in leadership training that will help many leaders upgrade their leadership skills. It is a free programme that is accessible over the internet at the above-mentioned time or by podcast at any other time via the Leadership Platform website.

radio pic2The program runs on Gareth Cliff’s new Cliffcentral.com. It is hosted by Adriaan Groenewald of Leadership Platform, a foremost leadership author and trainer, who has over the years recorded personal leadership interviews with probably more prominent leaders all over the world than anybody else. He is ably supported by Gareth Armstrong, also of Leadership Platform, who is a lead contributor to this column. They interview prominent leaders during the show and unpack vital leadership issues while also inviting participation from listeners such as you the reader.

An example of the state of the art relevancy of the show in keeping key leadership issues top of mind, is the recent discussion with Vic van Vuuren, Director International Labour Organisation. He is a world authority on labour issues. The frank discussion revolved around the labour crisis in the platinum industry and Vic gave us incisive insight into all the relevant factors influencing this serious situation.

Grant Pattison as mentor

Image courtesy of timeslive.co.za
Image courtesy of timeslive.co.za

Grant Pattison, outgoing CEO of the giant Massmart, appeared on the opening show a few weeks ago. Grant was frank and open in answering questions on his leadership experience. The discussion on Grant’s historic role in bringing Walmart, the world’s largest retail organisation into the mix of our country, was a solid learning experience for us all.

Grant was asked to give a key thought gained from his experience as a top leader over the years. He mentioned the following:

‘You form some of your deepest relationships when you fight with somebody.’

Over the years many observations have been made in this column about the need to face and confront negative feelings and situations. Grant’s comment is a powerful confirmation of the principle of confronting people and situations with positive intent. This may result on occasion in a ‘fight’, but the chances are that positive confrontations result in strong relationships. It reminds me of the abiding friendships formed by us boys in the old days after an initial confrontation.

May readers invoke their power to choose what they want to be top of mind in their daily lives.

This article appeared in the

The Workplace





Adriaan, as an accomplished author and leadership advisor, has been interviewing and working with top leaders for more than 15 years. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of Leadership Platform. (Twitter: @AdriaanG_LP)

Call: +27 (0)12 653 3022
Email: info@leadershipplatform.com

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Leadership Platform is a specialist leadership development consultancy, focusing on creating measurable impact to the bottom line through the enhancement of leadership understanding and engagement.


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