Circles of Concern and Influence

Learning about leadership has been a large aspect of my PG Cert in Leadership Coaching course. I wanted to share what I have been reading recently. One area is circles of concern and influence:

Circles of Concern and Influence

An aspect that can help leaders going through change is looking at circles of concern and influence by Stephen Covey.

A circle of concern encompasses the wide range of concerns we have e.g. our health, our children, problems at work, the amount of government borrowing, or the threat of war etc.

The circle of influence encompasses those concerns that we can do something about and have some control over.

Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People talks about being proactive i.e. being responsible for our own lives and recommends that people focus on issues within their circle of influence i.e. they work on areas that they can do something about.

He states that our behaviour is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. The nature of our energy in doing this is positive, enlarging and magnifying. We can thus increase our circle of influence.

This can help leaders learn that throughout change, you can explore the steps needed to behave proactively, rather than being reactive. So, you do not lose energy on what you cannot change!

A useful exercise

An exercise that you might find handy is make a list of all the things which are concerning you presently on a piece of paper. Then draw a large circle on a page, then draw another concentric circle within this. In the outer circle, add in the concerns that you have written down. This outer circle will contain your list of concerns. In the inner circle, make sure you have enough room and add in what you can do proactively about the concerns in the outer circle. This is your circle of influence. Try to look at this drawing several times over a week and see if you can add to the number of things you can do to help with your concerns. If you look at this frequently for a whole month, ideas may come to you and you may find your circle of influence growing larger!

I have a fuller description of how to do this exercise in my free resources section.

If you liked this article, you might also be interested in my blog on Ikigai.

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