Have you ever heard the saying, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying?” For the most part, I feel that statement is true. When you get lost in the day-to-day details, the ability to think “big picture” starts to diminish quickly. Thinking ahead and planning for the future is what helps your business move forward. Capacity building needs to be at the top of your list. Write that down. I’m serious.
I’m a list-checker. I push hard throughout the day and love the satisfaction that comes with each swift checkmark. Can’t you just hear that crisp swipe of the pen?
But as much as I love working on that list, I also make time to think strategically and step away from my project-based work each day. It keeps me sane and is extremely important to for me as a leader—and for those whom I’m supposed to be providing direction. Really, it’s good for all of us.
I’m not saying capacity building has to take the same form for everyone; but allow your brain to recharge for a moment–with whatever it is that makes you reflective. For me, it’s a few moments early in the morning before I dive in that I devote solely to being quiet. After that, my brain is like a gerbil on a wheel until it’s quitting time.
Here are a few helpful tips for building leadership capacity.
It’s hard to let go of the things we know we can do ourselves, but until you can clone yourself, you’re going to need to be good at delegating. Hiring employees is what makes your operation scalable: it allows to you devote your energy to top-level thinking. If you hire well, your team will go above and beyond in those areas you could’ve exhausted yourself handling.
Don’t be afraid to let go a bit.
Sometimes people laugh when they hear this suggestion. They say, “Right, I wish I had time to exercise.” The truth of the matter is: you do have time (see tip #1.) Make it a priority and part of your daily to-do list. Time spent being active is a way to “clean out the pipes” and decompress—both mentally and physically.
That good tired feeling from the endorphins gives a sense of accomplishment even if you didn’t get all of the items on your list done for the day.
Get Some Outside Perspective
Meetings with the team are great for internal operations, but every once in a while, it’s nice to get some insight from someone who is not familiar with the day-to-day happenings of your business. Meet one-on-one with an advisor, mentor, or fellow professional to get some fresh perspective.
If you’re not sure where to start, try asking, “What have you heard about (your company name) lately?”
Make sure your team, clients, and family know that you appreciate their support. It’s not easy balancing all of the different relationships, but be sure to say “thank you” to the people who surround you. Positive reinforcement is powerful; a simple gesture can go a long way.
Keep those good feelings flowing.
What are some ways you’ve built your leadership capacity?
– Brad Farris has been advising small business owners for over 13 years and the Founder of EnMast.com, a small business owner community. When he’s not working at the office, you’ll find him at home in Chicago with his wife and 5 kids or catching up on NFL stats on ESPN. Catch him on Google+ and Twitter.
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