A critical doer understands time; long and short view
I was doing some mentoring recently with one of our organization’s leaders…a very gifted, dynamic, talented leader…and we were discussing the subject of time. This leader was talking about the demands on his time during the course of an average day, and how it was a struggle to get everything done.
It’s not an uncommon concern amongst leaders to feel like there’s never enough time in a day. Generally we are victims of our own well-meaning intentions in that we try to be exemplary, to know our people, and be everything to everyone.
My advice to help remedy the problem came from the question “what are the things that you and only you can do for your organization?” That should be the guide in how a critical doer prioritizes time. Determine the things only you can do, pay yourself first with time to do those things, and trust your people to help you shoulder the load with tasks that can be shared.
In general, the things that only the leader can do involve setting a vision from which others can help with strategy and plans; personnel actions to include team building, hiring, firing, and optimum organization; decision making on fiscal priorities; strategic communication.
In allocating adequate time to do the things only the leader can do and using the rest to engage people and stay in touch with the conditions of the environment where real work is done, your organization will stay on a healthy strategic vector and you can still have time to engage your people.
Take an opportunity to evaluate how you are using your time. How we allocate our time is one of the most important decisions we make and has everything to do with how much a critical doer can…do!
In the list of things that the leader must do is set expectations and obtain the performance. Otherwise, he burns up all his time chasing after what the subordinate should have done.
I had one leader in the past that would undo all the system formats in a document only to go back through and manually format each little part. I had another that instead of kicking back substandard work, he would just redo it himself and then grouse about not having time.
From a critical think perspective, figure out where your time is best spent for the overall organization and then spend your time there.
Teach. Then teach some more. But teach the right things to the right folks. Don’t forget to leverage their time and abilities to multiply what your time accomplishes. Get out of the huddle. Don’t concern yourself with the basic blocking and tackling. Instead, ensure you’ve taught your middle level leaders to do their jobs well. Mentor them.
And reserve your own time for staying situationally aware of the larger context, problem, and potential options.
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