Leaders are busy. I’m sure you know that at any one time it’s possible to have so much on your plate that things seem to be sliding off and you barely have time to eat.
There are a lot of unconscious reasons leaders keep themselves ‘busy.’ One reason is that staying busy and never stopping to pause or renew ourselves gives us repeated hits of adrenaline. This make us feel alive. We are constantly moving and feel like we have a lot of energy, even though by the middle of the day we are often agitated and not making the best decisions. This is where mindfulness and emotional intelligence is invaluable. Amidst the rush of adrenaline, we must be able to pause and pay attention.
Another reason we keep ourselves busy is the joy of being needed. Notice how often you tell yourself that you can’t completely unplug from the office. Or how many tasks and projects you avoid delegating to others for a myriad of “logical” reasons (i.e. it ensures you can never really disconnect from your work). And last but not least, notice how much time you spend putting out fires and attempting to solve your team’s problems for them. Because if you aren’t working super hard around the clock, then that must mean that you aren’t really needed, right?
Instead, consider this question:
What is the one thing that your team needs today?
What is the one thing? Not the 50 things or the never-ending list of things. What is the one way that you can help your team stay on track and support them to get their jobs done a bit more easily, today?
Starting your day with this question in mind and doing a little bit of planning around it really can put an end to the busyness. Also, your team will appreciate your newfound ability to stay present. And you won’t seem like such a lunatic.
On the fly, this can look like helping your team solve a problem. Maybe that’s really what they needed that day. Or, maybe your team needs a little more appreciation, or even a loving kick in the pants.
The point here is to boil down your actions with your team to just the one thing. This forces you to pay attention, to consider your own actions, and to consider your approach to your work.
What is the one thing your team needs today?
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Weekly wisdom from the DS Leadership Life team.