Don’t have time to be the best leader you can be?

Every leader I speak to fully understands how the position of leadership is a privilege, not an entitlement and that great leaders help their team to be the best they can be. Yet, with challenging targets and competing priorities not every leader has sufficient time to help and mentor their team as much as they would like.

Some say leadership is a gift we are born with, others say it’s a learned skill, however, the process of finding and then developing leaders isn’t always as simple as ABC. It’s like the best player on a sporting team doesn’t always make the best captain ie. the early days as captain were apparently less than ideal for both Nathan Buckley at Collingwood in the AFL and Kobe Bryant at the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA. Both had to learn about leadership before developing into the great leaders they became.

The Global Human Capital Trend identified leadership as “the No. 1 talent issue facing organizations around the world” with an 86% response to the survey rating it “urgent” or “important.” Yet, only 13% responded of doing an excellent job of developing leaders.

On face value we could assume this just being a talent issue but from what I see in organisations makes me question whether we’re underestimating the angle of being too busy also contributing to this. What happens when the leader just hasn’t got enough time to do their job in totality?

Think about it for a moment, many leaders have:

  1. Challenging targets which are generally increasing year on year
  2. High workloads they struggle to complete in a timely manner
  3. Work long hours with getting the balance between work and family a constant juggling act

And some leaders I know have even questioned how sustainable the pace is for themselves and their teams. Maybe you’re experiencing a similar situation? If so, it’s not necessarily the greatest job description.

But what if you were able to develop a rhythm of work to relieve pressure and achieve better outcomes in less time? I think there’s opportunity to increase personal efficiency even more than what it is today - regardless whether you’ve attended some form of time management training or similar program at some stage.

The reason for this is so much has changed around us (technology, multi-generational workforce, flexible working concept etc) and have we adopted our techniques at the same rate, have we assumed we don’t need to or have we been so busy we haven’t really thought about it? And if that’s the case for leaders then what about the teams who work with us?

So if you’ve done efficiency before then think of this as being “super-efficient 2.0”. Where’s capacity hiding you can find? From what I’m seeing and hearing in my discussions with leaders it’s there if you know where to look.

In next week’s blog we’ll discuss areas to consider to free up time which could then be used to help and mentor your team.