Too often leaders feel as if productivity and leadership cannot coexist.
They equate productivity with getting the job done or accomplishing the mission. It has to do with meeting deadlines, coming in under budget, delivering to the customer and managing all the tasks that come their way.
If they recognize that their job-to-get-done IS to lead the people, then leadership becomes another set of tasks to manage. Those tasks include things like getting to know the people, collaborating with them on decisions and helping them develop.
And to a large extent this is correct. All good ideas eventually break down into work, so knowing the traits of a good leader HAS to break down into tasks to be accomplished eventually.
Getting to know your people requires meetings to be set up or time carved in your calendar to walk around and chat. Collaborating with a team to make a decision requires a lot more time that just making the decision yourself.
And let me tell you, helping your employees develop is a whole lot of energy spent learning their hopes, aspirations and ambitions coupled with your knowledge of what needs to be done, and sprinkled with a lot of patience while they are learning something new.
But let me tell you this, leadership is the long game. And we can't let what matters now get in the way of what matters most.
If you want to get off the hamster wheel of task overwhelm, you have to start playing the long game.
So often I talk to leaders who know what to do, they just can't carve out enough time to do it!
So the baby step challenge this week is to delegate or say no to ONE thing on your to-do list to carve out time. Here are some ideas:
Even if you only carve out 15 minutes, use that 15 minutes to really lead. And for most of the leaders I coach, that time is best spent in a one on one meeting with someone who works for them.
The more you concentrate on the unique things a leader does, the more productive you will be ultimately.
Even if those things don't seem productive in the short term!
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: Yes, I knew that listening was crucial to being a good leader. But I never know that I was the one who had to do the listening!