Can you guess what the most important trait is for effective leaders? You can probably guess all sorts of things: relationship building, communication, awareness, positivity, innovation … The list goes on. And you probably do a lot of those things too.

When I speak with leaders, I emphasize that a person’s success as a leader doesn’t come from what they do or how they do it – it’s about how often they do these important things.

The Most Important Thing For Leaders: Focus Your Team

A leader’s most important job is taking the time and effort to focus their team. Leaders must help their team members focus their time and expertise to complete the organization’s most important work.

The most successful businesses are driven by profit, innovation, efficiency and effectiveness.

Your team’s revenue and results are all driven by how people spend their time (effort) and expertise (knowledge and skills), and these are the keys to elevating your team’s success. By doing these things and being a role model for your team, you can experience amazing results.


How To Elevate Your Team

  1. Passion Creating a vision requires passion. This passion elevates your own commitment and helps both you and your team be productive. It’s unlikely that a leader will be fully immersed in their role, their organization or their team if they are not passionate about what they are doing.


  1. Time, Expertise And Motivation Everything is the by-product of time and expertise. When a leader invests both time and expertise into their team, the team grows. When time and expertise are invested wisely, the organization also achieves great success. By putting the time and expertise into your team members, you can motivate them to improve in their roles.


  1. Focus This goes hand in hand with time and expertise. By focusing on the strengths (and weaknesses) of a team and learning how to constantly improve and grow, an organization can produce positive results. When a leader doesn’t have this focus, the organization suffers. Mediocrity becomes the norm. A great deal of time and expertise is wasted in companies where employees are doing low-priority work or work that shouldn’t be done at all. When a team lacks an effective leader, it is difficult for them to know what they should be doing instead.


When a leader takes the time to show their team the importance of their work and how their work will achieve success, the whole organization grows. This commitment is what creates remarkable performances. You can learn more about this in my book The Encore Effect: How To Achieve Remarkable Performance In Anything You Do.

At the end of the day, it’s most important for leaders to regularly take the time to focus on and elevate their team. Just as a conductor makes sure members of an orchestra are all playing the right music to the best of their ability, so does an effective leader do their job.


Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is the President of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an “idea studio” that seeks to motivate and develop leaders in and outside of business. He’s the bestselling author of books like Fred Factor and The Potential Principle and a noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and company change. He holds the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association and is a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame. Check out any of his excellent books, his video series “Team Building: How To Motivate And Manage People” or his website,, to learn more.