Leaders get things done. This is one reason people seek us out. When there’s a problem to be solved, or and opportunity to seize, it’s often a leader who is called upon to respond. So what’s the problem? If we’re not careful, we can become so busy we actually forfeit our leadership!
No leader wants to be too busy to lead. So, how does it happen? I think there are many reasons; here are a few of them…
Leaders are high capacity people. Because this is true, people assume our capacity is unlimited.
Leaders are optimists. We believe we can do more than we can do – we also believe we can do it faster than we actually can.
Leaders want to help. Servant leaders love to serve. We also want to help others win.
How do you combat this tendency to become so busy we compromise our leadership effectiveness? There's no simple answer to this question. I believe it will be a life-long pursuit. Here are a few suggestions that may help you on the journey…
Clarify your role. What exactly are you paid to do? Is it possible you’re actually doing work others could or should do? I would suggest a conversation with your immediate supervisor discussing, then deciding and then documenting your agreed upon key roles.
Clarify your priorities. Within every role, there should still be priorities. All tasks and activities are not created equal. If everything is a priority, nothing is. The chances are good you’ll not get everything done. That’s okay as long as the right activities are accomplished. Your odds of success in this go up drastically if you have your priorities in order and you act accordingly.
Learn to say no. For the reasons I mentioned above, saying “no,” is hard for many leaders. A combination of optimism, high capacity and a servant’s heart are a potentially lethal mixture. If we want to maximize our leadership impact, “No” must be a word we use often.
Create additional capacity. The final strategy to combat busyness is to create additional capacity. Then, you’ll have more discretionary time for the select occasions when you should say, “Yes.” There are many successful ways to create capacity, including the previous idea – just say no. I’ve written about that previously if you’re interested. The post is entitled Leaders Expand Capacity.
Here’s my final thought. I think busyness has gotten an unwarranted bad rap. I believe leaders should be busy. My challenge and yours is to be busy doing the right things. You get no credit for doing the wrong things well![GLS_Shield]