Daily demands create a tidal pull toward “doing” versus leading—tasks and challenges tempt us to jump in and fix, suggest, organize, manage, etc., “in the interest of time.” Yet every minute you’re driving the day-to-day is one minute with your eyes off the road ahead. Over time, this pattern hinders your ability to guide your people toward the future vision of your organization.If this is your situation, you probably already suspect that something needs to change.
Here’s a start for you:
- Reflect on how you tend to spend most of your work time: in the day-to-day, or on the road ahead?
- Now take a look at your calendar—back one month and forward one month—then circle the events, meetings, and trips during which you are leading versus doing.
- If, between reflection and calendar evaluation, you discover your ratio of leading to doing is low, then look for the patterns. What tends to trigger you to be overly-involved in doing? Are there detectable patterns?
- Consider the people you have in place to manage the day-to-day activities. Are changes needed there, or do you need to delegate more effectively to them?
- With these things in mind, keep a sharp eye on your ratio, and see how it may change over time.
Based on client experiences / lessons learned, our weekly LeaderTips have been offering self-coaching themes and topics of interest to leaders since 2004. They are often published in BusinessWeek Online, sent weekly to our clients, and hundreds of other corporate leaders worldwide. I invite you to forward them to others, who are also welcome to subscribe using the link below. Note that over 100 of these tips appear in my book, Beyond Effective: Practices in Self-aware Leadership. Click here to subscribe to LeaderTips via email.