Leadership isn’t an unlimited resource, because time isn’t an unlimited resource. Learn how to be a more effective and efficient leader.
Today’s post is by Mike Figliuolo, Managing Director of thoughtLEADERS.
Do you work a 40 hour week or are you working 24/7? How much effort are you putting into your work? How much stress do you experience from the energy you’re putting in? Your time and energy are finite resources. You can squeeze more time out by taking away from other activities in your life but you can’t do that forever. That time isn’t unlimited.
If you squeeze out too much, bad things can happen. I’m speaking from experience here. I’ve had two heart attacks because I was spending too much time and energy with my work. Something needs to change. To reduce the time you spend at work, reduce stress, and improve performance, you need to approach how you spend your time and energy differently.
Leadership capital is the time and energy you invest in leading your team. It needs to be invested carefully like any other scarce resource. When’s the last time you assessed where you’re spending your time and energy? Who are you spending it with? How are you spending it? Are you getting the results you want from those investments? These are all questions I want you to consider as you assess how you’re spending the valuable resource of your leadership capital.
I’ve seen leaders make three common mistakes when investing in their leadership capital. Those mistakes hurt both their efficiency and their effectiveness.
The first mistake I see is what I call the peanut butter approach. What leaders do is give everyone on their team exactly the same amount of their time and energy. They just spread it around evenly. They do this because it feels fair to everyone.
What’s wrong with this approach is not everyone needs the same amount of your time. It’s not fair to those who need less. It feels like micromanagement. It’s not fair to those who need more of your attention. They feel like they’re getting slighted for time.
The second mistake I see is the reactive approach where leaders give people time and attention whenever they ask, in the order they ask for it. Just think about a queue of people lined up outside that leader’s, door knocking on the door, and asking for time and attention and that leader just calls the next number in line. This mistake happens because this approach requires very little thought. What’s wrong with this approach is it fails to prioritize the leader’s time and allocate it to the most important issues. It also encourages team members to constantly take up the leader’s time rather than solving issues for themselves.
The third mistake is taking the path of least resistance. Leaders spend more time with people who are easiest or most fun to work with. They avoid team members who give them trouble. Leaders do this because this approach is easy. It avoids conflict. The issues with this approach include not solving issues that need to be resolved and instead dedicating time and energy to low return efforts. Spending excessive time with high performers doesn’t contribute a great deal to delivering outstanding results.
When you look at these mistakes, I’d like you to ask yourself a couple of questions. What would you do if your chief financial officer allocated budget and investment dollars this way? Do you spend your leadership capital this way? Once you know what these common mistakes are, it’s easier to avoid them and instead be more intentional about how you spend your leadership capital to get better results.
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