Just a minute. That's all it takes to read each installment of Beck & Stone's new micro-interviews with some of the world's leading authors, inventors, visual and musical artists, gurus, and civic leaders.

Marijana, as a leader, is it better to focus your expertise in a few areas, and delegate the rest? Or is it better to know a little about everything?

A leader is distinguished by a professional drive and modesty from within, excellent work ethic, and the need to achieve lasting results. A leader is competent in the field of their work and does not settle for being average, but wants to excel in what they do.

This requires a lot of effort and discipline, because mediocrity might produce some degree of competence, but not excellence. Leaders surround themselves with good and competent associates whose expertise they can trust when making decisions. A leader is not superhuman. They must be a good person who has a strong character and a moral clarity. Conscience must take priority in their actions and decision-making.

Politics is one of a few professions where someone's integrity, or indeed a lack of it, becomes very apparent. Inclusion and participation is a leadership trait that implies not only a dialogue with another person, but getting to know them, not focusing on their weaknesses, but on things that drive us mutually.

Life-long learning is important for every leader. However, the knowledge gained from literature is of a lesser importance to the knowledge one gains about themselves. Only if we understand ourselves can we have a better understanding of others.

Nevertheless, much more important is to have the heart of a leader; that is, the correct attitude of the heart. This means that we need to do the right things with the right motive, we should be serving because we want to help people, not for the fame. Leaders are called upon to work hard, to sacrifice, and to serve.

We do not have to be perfect to serve, we need to be aware that we cannot give others what we do not have ourselves. The leader serves from what is in their heart, and the heart is the center of every person, their physical and spiritual being. That is why it is important that as leaders, we look after our hearts and take a deeper look at those things that only God and we know about.

Marijana Petir is a member of the Croatian Parliament and the chair of the Committee on Agriculture. She holds a master's degree from the University Of Zagreb Catholic Faculty Of Theology. In her political and public work, she is committed to the development of rural areas and family farms, as well as to the protection of traditional, Christian, and universal human values. She is a volunteer firefighter, hikes in her free time, loves to cook, and has walked the Camino from Irun to Santiago de Compostela.