Written by Josh Fisher

As someone who recently started wearing glasses full-time, I’ve come to understand how they can alter my perception. My glasses sharpen my central vision, allowing me to see clearly what’s directly in front of me. However, they also slightly obscure my peripheral vision, making me less aware of what’s happening around the edges. This shift in my visual experience has given me a clearer perspective on leadership.

In leadership, it’s easy to develop tunnel vision. We get so laser-focused on specific tasks, goals, or immediate issues that we forget to consider the broader context. A narrow focus in leadership can lead to missed opportunities and unforeseen challenges that lurk in the periphery. This tunnel vision can cause leaders to overlook critical external factors, such as emerging market trends, team dynamics, or the long-term implications of their decisions.

When we concentrate solely on the central tasks at hand, we risk missing the subtle signals that indicate potential problems or opportunities. For instance, a leader might be deeply engrossed in meeting quarterly financial targets but needs to notice a growing dissatisfaction within the team, which could eventually lead to higher turnover rates and a loss of valuable talent. Similarly, focusing exclusively on immediate project deliverables might result in neglecting the strategic planning needed for sustainable growth.

Here are three actionable steps to ensure we maintain clarity in our peripheral vision as leaders:

Conduct Regular 360-Degree Feedback Sessions

Engage in regular 360-degree feedback sessions with your team and stakeholders. This comprehensive feedback process involves gathering input from peers, subordinates, and supervisors to gain a well-rounded view of your performance and impact. By seeking perspectives from different angles, you can identify blind spots and areas for improvement that you might have overlooked. This practice not only enhances your self-awareness but also builds a culture of openness and continuous improvement within your team.

Implement a “Peripheral Scan” Routine

Just as you would periodically check your surroundings while driving, develop a routine to scan your organizational periphery. Set aside time each week to review external factors that might influence your team or projects. This could include industry trends, competitor activities, or emerging technologies. By staying attuned to these external elements, you can anticipate changes and make proactive adjustments to your strategies, ensuring you remain agile and responsive to the broader environment.

Delegate and Empower Your Team

Empower your team members to take ownership of various aspects of your projects. Delegation not only distributes the workload but also brings diverse perspectives into the decision-making process. Trusting your team to manage different components allows you to step back and see the bigger picture. By encouraging collaboration and leveraging the unique strengths of each team member, you can avoid getting bogged down in the minutiae and maintain a strategic overview of your initiatives.

While it’s important to focus on specific tasks and goals, leaders must also be vigilant about their peripheral vision. By incorporating regular feedback, scanning the broader environment, and empowering your team, you can ensure that you remain aware of the wider impacts and opportunities, leading to more holistic and effective leadership.

Founded in 2004, Lead Star is the company behind New York Times best-sellers SPARKLeading from the Front, and Bet on You. Lead Star supports professionals to reach new levels of success through its innovative coaching programs.