The role of being a leader isn't easy, it actually can be lonely at times. The definition of leadership, as defined by Google, is 'the action of leading a group of people or an organization'. The key word in that definition is 'action'. Unfortunately, somewhere over the past few years the business world has inadvertently redefined action and replaced it with 'the act of being busy'.
Being consistently busy doesn't mean you're successful
An example of this are employees wasting time in unproductive meetings, working in silos & launching projects that create more confusion than ROI. What's the solution? Leadership is needed & desperately.
It seems as if every week there is a story in the news about companies that are failing, leaders being called to testify before congress, harassment allegations and much more. Are these things happening because the entire C-Suite is missing within a organization? Not exactly, they are present but unaware.
"It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse." Adlai E. Stevenson II
This is an interesting quote from Stevenson but the message is clear. To be an effective leader you can't care what others think. When it comes to transforming a organization there are a few priorities that leaders can continuously focus on. Here are just a few:
- Consistent Personal Development - Development cannot be left to just a few days a year at a retreat or conference, it must be a consistent practice each day. Now, this can be challenging with the demand that executives are put under. But, ask yourself who is setting the priorities for your day? Are you constantly putting out fires? Is your organization in a cycle of being reactive and not proactive? To redefine your time start by having a morning ritual, even if it is a few minutes of a activity that you do alone to prepare for the day. It could be reading a book, watching a motivational clip or even mediation. Starting the day by aligning yourself first will provide the focus you need for the tasks to be completed that day.
- Make the Tough Calls-This is a non negotiable for leaders but allow me to define what is the tough call. The biggest tough call that is apparent within most business is the lost of time and profits from work that doesn't produce results. Most leaders when asked to make a list of the top 5 projects that have received funding and the department owner of those same projects could not clearly support the business case or validate the ROI it doesn't take them long to come up with a few names. Why does this continue? That brings us to point # 3.
- The Buck Stops With You-In brief, it's time to not just hold your team accountable but to give a specific example of what that looks like and how their role aligns to it. This might sound simplistic but its not. The media is full of stories of company after company that pay heavy fines to regulatory agencies because of various reasons but the core reason is simple-'accountability was left off the table'.
Are you seeing a increase in customer cancellations? Are new client acquisitions low? These are examples of a culture of 'be busy vs. productive' within your organization. To turn it start with asking the tough questions to your team and holding them accountability for a response that can increase the ROI and reduce the spin in employees wasting time.
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