Time management is absolute crucial nowadays where business decisions have to be taken often at the speed of light, leaders have to find spare time to prioritize their actions.
Time is the scarcest of all resources. Leadership should be about developing the ability to inspire people to reach high levels of performance and success. Being able to dream a vision and having the passion to communicate that vision by concentrating the attention at key strategies.
Listening, coaching, and mentoring being an inspiration for others while managing the change culture of your organization. These are the skills and competencies that leaders clearly need to focus on. To achieve this you have to free up time, which, actually seems to be a paradigm in current days. So how can we best cope with this situation?
Managers rarely have time to spot opportunities. Their daily work routine prevents them from taking the first necessary step towards being a Strategic Leader. Developing the capacity to craft an idea and transforming it into reality. First of all you have to believe that you are not unbearable. So why don't you try and delegate more.
Most cases of, what seems to be, excessive workload are originated, because most managers are not able to influence the flow of their daily demands. It is a question of reacting instead of acting. Managers that take demands for granted and simply respond to them, rarely challenge themselves about the meaning these demands actually have, and if they really make sense or whether one could or should transform them. By being always "under fire," people never find time to ask themselves the vital Leadership question: "Am I busy performing the right actions?" We really need to frequently challenge ourselves about the usefulness for the business of some tasks we are performing. And how can we best monitor the level of importance for the organization that a specific request has? Well, here are 6 Questions that helped me to prioritize projects throughout my working carer. The answering of these questions helped me evaluating the degree of priority for a specific demand or project.
- "What economic benefit will this action bring for the company? - "Is this action aligned with the company's Vision and mission statement?" - "does it fit in the global strategy the company or department is perusing?" - "How will it satisfy stakeholders?" How important is it to your boss, your team, and other interested parties? - "What is my level of passion, skills, and energy for it - "Do we have the resources?" Are there sufficient time, money, and any other necessary resources to accomplish this goal?
If you can't bring all six to the table, than probably, you're not going to achieve a high return on your efforts.
That should be one of the criteria that identify a leader, the ability to question routines. The simple fact is that being busy is easier than not. A higher level of adrenaline gives us the perception that we are fully occupied and busy as time is passing by. It is basically a question of being entertained, and most people, we have to admit it, feel more comfortable not having to think about the usefulness of some tasks. Answering to each new demand, providing an answer to the latest request, and complaining about excessive workload is easier than setting priorities, or reflecting about their relevance for the organization. It makes us occupied and people like that status, being the centre of attention, where people constantly ask them for assistance, information, or advice. If the pack is moving in one direction Strategic Leaders need to stop and ask themselves: Why are they (we) doing this?
Strategic leaders deal in different manners with requests and demands than their busy manager colleagues do. They need time to think and reflect. They look cool and relaxed giving the impression of being fully in control of the situation. Rather than simply responding to any issue that gets thrown at them, they handle their demands by:
-Designing a road map of how and when they want to achieve what in their jobs:
1.). For example, rather than keeping general goals in mind such as "sales increase " or "excellent after sales service," , that are no better than wishful thinking , they try to paint a general picture of how this objectives can be achieved, a vivid mental representation of your objectives that includes ways to achieve them. While reacting to demands can be distracting, the kind of personal road map that one needs to create should produce an up- side down effect: It allows us to align short term actions with the long term strategy, so that we can immediately point out our short term priorities and relate them with OUR vision and longer term planning. Such an approach is much more motivational and should produce better results as simply responding and reacting to demands and requests.
2.) Strategic Leadership means that you take a closer look at what you choose to do or not do. That way, you create space for actions that are vital for the organization rather than executing tasks you like or find most familiar or easy. It is important that you leave your comfort zone and try to get used to more unfamiliar tasks. It is therefore important that you as a Strategic leader develop your change management skills and competencies. Set priorities among your tasks, aligning your activities with your Personal Road Map.
3.) Practicing Time management also means monitoring the daily time we spent interacting with others. Reacting blindly and instantly to any demands that pops in is extremely time consuming and even exhausting as this means long lasting face to face discussions, telephone calls , etc. This is one of the main reasons why people complain about the multiple interruptions they face during a regular working day. Management is mostly about Team work, which means that a Strategic Leader must learn when, how and for how long one is available to spent time with his direct reports. We often spend more time then really needed with our direct reports, often because we want others to consider us a caring good boss by being always available. It is important that you provide them the feeling that you are there TO HELP THEM, ADVISE THEM, TO HEAR THEIR NEEDS AND SHARE THEIR CONCERNS, but this should not be at any time, any place and any time. Try to explain them that they have certain hours where Your door should be open for them , or if this is physically not possible due to space constraints ( Open space offices ), then try to get some reserved , restricted time for You to reflect and analyze.
4.) There are managers out there that constantly worry whether they are meeting others' expectations. They want to come under a good light at the group picture.
By trying to please everybody, these managers tend to get absorbed in speculations about what others expect, about the best way to meet those expectations, and the impact of not meeting them. The end result is that these managers fail, because in the quest of trying to please everybody they usually end up pleasing no one and ultimately do not find free time for following their one agenda. Strategic Leaders are aware that they can not meet every-ones expectations; instead they focus on their key stakeholders because these managers have the sensibility to know the influence these stakeholders have. Giving a strong and honest commitment to these key people implies having to say no to most of the less relevant ones. The biggest advantage of this strategy is that by focusing on these strategic stakeholders you can actively shape your actions according to the demands of these persons, and ideally will be to combine this strategy with being proactive. The attack is the best defence, action is better than reaction; Strategic Leaders present their own visions, projects and objectives before their Key Stakeholders come across and present their demands. This is a form of tailoring to your personal goals others expectations. Rather than arbitrarily building a relationship network with many individuals, Strategic Leaders, opposed to what most managers do, deliberately focus their time and effort on building strong and close ties with people who can influence the achievement of their objectives.
This is a long term strategy that is based on the build up of solid long term relationships, and Strategic Leaders spend a lot of time developing their personal networks, not without a huge portion of true warmth, respect, and, even some friendship.
Henrique Pl?ger Abreu has a Master Degree in Business Administration.
He has more than 20 Years of working Experience in Sales and Marketing as a B2B Consultant and Public Speaker. He is the President of the L.T.C. a non profit Organization.