Whether in a professional position of leadership or a leader of your own life, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “Busy”. It’s the real “B-Word” of our society; leaders, companies, and individuals are flying around their lives and their work in a perpetual state of “Busy”! The truth is, because we’re so used to feeling and being this way, it feels odd when we’re not… therefore we minimize the importance of rest and self-care or feel weak if we take it; leading to you doing too much, your team doing too much, and the organization doing too much! Although I’m terrible at math, I developed two simple equations to live by called A Leader’s Algebra (I share in more detail in my book, 7 Ways to Lead, but here’s the concept:
- Be mindful not to add to your dysfunction! If you’re successful or semi-successful; just because you can do more… doesn’t mean you should. I’m all for thinking bigger, taking risks, and being a visionary. I’m also for, tightening up any processes to be sure things are as functional as can be before adding more people, tasks, and endeavors to the list. Adding to a dysfunctional team or process will eventually lead to more dysfunction!
- Subtract then Add – If you are merely treading water with all you have going on; adding more is like handing bricks to a drowning person. Perhaps you, the team, or the organization may like to discard a few bricks before accepting new ones?
At some point, if you haven’t been there already, you’ll find the demands of your job have become too much. Back when I started as an employee in 1999, I was a Mental Health Therapist. I loved the job and remember thinking how easy the paperwork was… “I can do this!”. Five years later the paperwork quadrupled and the onslaught of “more” never let up. It’s a drowning feeling and a sad thing to love your job, but have so much disdain for the part that has nothing to do with what you really want to do that it burns you out!
At some point, you may come to know the demands and expectations your people face have become too much. Both you and they are willing, like your job, and genuinely want to be there; however the demands have increased, but the time in which to get them all done has not. So, how do you do this as a leader; protecting your team and being of influence and impact?
Reduce & Restructure
Reduce – As a leader of your own business, in an organization, or of your life… we must take regular inventory of all of the things you’re doing. MORE isn’t always the answer… BETTER is better! In examining your “To-Do List” and processes… is there anything redundant? Either eliminate some or mesh them into one simpler process.
Also, a great reduction tip is what I call, “Get My Life Together Saturday’s!”. I use this time to evaluate all of the things I have going on in my business, in my relationship/s, and my life… and I examine three simple questions: What’s working (based on my definition of working and yielding positive results); therefore… What do I need to continue? What do I need to stop? Lastly, What do I need to start? There’s a bit more to the process, but this is the gist! Whatever, you find you need to stop… that’s your Reduction Answer? It requires you to first know your answer for success, the inventory list of all you do, the inventory list of your people, and the list for your team to make the reduction sensible, meaningful, and culture-impacting! You’d be surprised how much your people actually do. As a leader, you tend to think your people only do tasks you’ve given… NOT TRUE… they do tasks you’ve assigned, tasks other departments have asked help on, favors for co-workers, and more… Be Mindful!
Restructure – Unfortunately, not all things can be this smooth nor may you have the power to change the things listed above. When I was a therapist, the paperwork was issued by the state and if not done properly there was no reimbursement for services already rendered. There was no changing that! When you do not have control over the process… it may be time to restructure!
It may be wise to match duties to the skill-set of those on your team. Perhaps, a restructuring of the day; building in a designated and uninterrupted time for the most important tasks or time-consuming tasks to get done. Whatever, you choose, be sure it’s sensible, doable, and impactful for not only you and your leadership… but also the leadership of your people and their work/life harmony!
After you’ve reduced and restructured… it’s time to refocus! You now have a new process… and as helpful as it is… it will still take you and your people time to adapt. Remember, it’s change and change… healthy or not, is uncomfortable for most. Some may love it, some may complain… the goal here is to refocus!
As a leader, it’s time to be vocal and share not only what the changes are but why they are helpful, how they are helpful, your vision moving forward, your organization and professional expectations, and the rules (existing or new). I’m honored to provide Leadership Trainings to organizations and teams all over the country and it always surprises me how little this happens. You can do this in a large group, by departments, and/or 1-on-1. The latter is a great way to sit personally with an employee; getting their feedback on what they like, would fine-tune, and what they want to get out of working with and for you! Whatever you choose, be sure YOU know your Leader’s 3: Vision, Expectations, and Rules in order to share and positively refocus your team!
Recommitting is the intentional ongoing process most organizations fall short on. I was once asked by an organization, “After you provide your Leadership Training, how do we make sure it continues to work?”. My answer was simple, “You have to intentionally keep doing it (the concepts I’ve taught)!”.
Of course, you can get analytical and do surveys… however, there’s nothing as powerful as consistently applying the new information you learned that will enhance and evolve you, your people, and your team as a whole. Think about it… if you learned something new about your significant other tonight… something they love and makes them smile, improves your relationship, and changes not only the way they look at you… but how they positively look at themselves. Wouldn’t you do it and keep doing it? This is the same… Recommit your leadership to your team and organization by consistently doing the 3 R’s when TOO MUCH is happening, doing the 3 R’s and watch what happens!
“MORE isn’t always the better… BETTER is better!” – Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young
Enhance Leadership and Work/Life Harmony in your Organization, your Leaders, Employees, and Teams with Andre Young’s Speaking Engagements, Evolve & Lead Training Programs (on-site, online, or virtual), and1-on-1 Growth Sessions! www.youevolvingnow.com