You’ve spent the day rushing from one urgent task to the next, stretching time limits, stacking up multiple meetings at the same time (and being late for all of them), seeing your inbox unread list creep higher and higher and dealing with one new request after another.
Untouched for days, your to-do list is collecting dust, and you’re completely unprepared for tomorrow’s board meeting.
Does this sound familiar? To the organised few, this probably sounds like a nightmare, but this is the reality so many of us face on a daily basis.
As an organisation’s chief, you’re used to managing chaos; other people’s and your own.
But is this really sustainable? Is this the way you thought leadership was going to be?
Is this type of chaos really going to set you up for future success?
Of course it’s not…
So how do future leaders prioritise?
Well, the good news is that we all start off from the same point.
We each have 24 hours in a day.
But what sets apart the ‘good’ from the ‘great’ leader is how they use that time effectively.
And it’s not about cramming more into the day or sleeping less. In fact, those strategies have been proven time and again to be ineffective.
Recognise which time limits can be negotiated, and which can’t
Realise which meeting needs their immediate attention and full focus, and which can be delegated or attended to later
Drop everything to address a crisis, but have a good strategy in place for dealing quickly with crises
Know how to prioritise.
How do future leaders do this?
The findings of a 14,000-person LinkedIn member survey conducted in partnership with Jacob Morgan, futurist and author, identifies the skills, mindsets, trends, and challenges future leaders will need to adapt to over the next 10 years.
The world of work is changing rapidly, and leaders need to adapt their own skills and mindsets to address future trends and challenges. These findings show that while leaders may feel they’re prepared, their employees aren’t so sure, and often feel more confident in their own adaptability.
Technology and the rapid pace of change will require leaders to learn new skills. Leadership that prioritises people, purpose, and agility will come out ahead.
55% of respondents indicated a purpose driven and caring mindset was the number one thing leaders should be striving for, followed by embracing technology (47%), and agility. This agility and willingness to embrace change will be critical. It was also found that more than half (52%) of U.S. millennials prioritise “values” over a paycheck.
1. Realise what your job as a leader is (and isn’t) Delegate. This is a whole world away from micro-managing or barking orders (that just doesn’t work, ever).
When you delegate, ensure you are playing to the other person’s strengths, and explain delegated duties clearly. If you don’t understand what needs to be done, then no one else will either.
Most importantly, while you delegate to others, empower them to lead it through to completion; don’t step in unless absolutely necessary, or if they ask for it.
2. Tie every assignment to the dreams of your workforce. Goals and dreams cannot be overlooked here. While you might skip past this thinking it’s unnecessary, you are actually side stepping a huge potential win for your team and organisation.
Goals provide your people with direction and purpose. We all like to feel like we are part of something that matters. Even if a task seems menial or unimportant, attach relevance to it for your employees and watch them reach new heights of achievement and quality.
When you make your daily or weekly to-do list, delegate duties with the goals and dreams with your team in mind (and if you don’t know what they are, then do that first!)
As the leader and pacesetter, be mindful to spend your employee’s time wisely. And being wise means having the team do the work you need them to, but also having them do the work you know is meaningful to their personal and professional goals.
For a fast-tracked solution to doing this effectively Boombirds empowers you to delegate tasks evenly, ensuring your employees stay productive (because they know exactly what they have to work on) and you always have a bird’s eye view of anything and everything that is happening in your organisation.
With value-stream mapping and Kanban you can be confident in them and simply deal with the bottlenecks instead of being copied on every email just in case.
3. Know (and speak to) the team It’s very easy to get caught up in all the ‘do-ing’ without actually speaking to your team about important updates that directly affect them.
Priorities change constantly, and for your people to do their jobs well, they should be privy to the changes; even if you don’t have all the answers straight away.
Open communication builds rapport, which leads to trust, which ultimately creates a better (and more productive) team environment all round.
4. Help others to grow Supporting the professional growth of others is no easy job. It can be time consuming and at times it might feel unrewarding and a waste of time.
But when you commit to helping others, and finding ways to support their goals and dreams, you will see some amazing things happen, that will ultimately benefit you and your organisation. Even if it is a long game.
Set regular 1:1 sessions with your direct reports (and honour that time) to talk about priorities, demanding situations and to build rapport. Strive for an open-door policy with your people wherever possible. Dedicating time for 1:1 talks with your team will reduce interruptions at other times, maintains your position as a pacesetter and will ensure you have a better understanding of what’s happening for your team. (In the wake of COVID-19 I have set up two weekly hour “office hours” sessions for anyone in my team to book me into a 1:1 to discuss anything they want. They might not need it every week but it’s important to know that it’s in my calendar and I will stick to it).
Whether you lead 5 people or 500, spending quality time with your team builds loyalty, and aligns their priorities with organisational dreams.
5. Seek fast, long-lasting solutions. Great leaders are always looking for solutions that can be both, quick to implement and permanent. If a worker isn’t completing their tasks in a timely manner, the quickest way might be to do it yourself. But that’s not sustainable. A good leader will guide the worker to do the tasks efficiently so the difficulty doesn’t crop up again.
6. Celebrate! Being a leader is tough, it demands absolute confidence and commitment. But if you are not able to see and recognise small achievements, you’ll eventually lose the motivation to get out of bed in the morning. Did an employee close a prime sale? Celebrate it! Take the team out for lunch, remember birthdays, and allow all people to be themselves when completing their tasks. We are all human beings, not robots, so take time out for celebrating life.
In an organisation, adaptability is the most effective constant. Some days, you’ll only be able to complete one-third of your tasks. As a leader, understand that that’s life and embrace it. Your to-do list will still be there tomorrow.
How do you get started?
We have an ever-growing stack of free content, including ebooks, checklists and downloads in our Knowledge Centre.
But, to really boost your productivity and prioritisation, why not start a free trial of Boombirds today? No credit card required, and you could be up and running in less than 30 minutes, with your first workflow today. Check it out here.