As we wrap up one year and enter another, this is a convenient time for self-reflection. For your leadership passion and style, compare where you are now against where you started the year. What bad habits have you accumulated throughout the year? Let me suggest one bad habit to be particularly wary of.
Here’s a common scenario. You start the year with great passion and optimism, pushing the envelop, thinking big, and working hard. Then bad news starts dripping in. Nothing individually back-breaking by itself, but that constant drip starts up and won’t stop. Then, your management starts “unfairly” changing things up and micro-managing, making what was once a very difficult but plausible objective now seem foolhardy. So that by the time the last quarter rolls around, everything seems futile and nobody believes in the vision, strategy, or plan anymore. That’s when you’re going through the motions. Doing what is expected and what is comfortable, but not doing what is necessary.
Real leaders don’t do that. Never, ever take a course of action for the reason that it is comfortable or expected. Always take the course of action for what is necessary to achieve the goal. It’s simple to say. Simple to read. Simple to agree with. But so few successfully execute this with consistency.
One of the most difficult things to do as an individual or a leader is to ignore the easy and instead do the necessary. Constantly challenge yourself and your team to stop doing what is convenient or expected, and instead do what is required.
Start by looking at your calendar. Are you a slave to meeting invitations or are you instead a master of your time? Eliminate the meetings that aren’t helping you achieve your goals. Force the discussions and teamwork required to be successful. For meetings you cannot avoid but are not helpful, become vocal. Don’t sit back and cruise through those meetings, but instead shift the discussion. Your calendar is just one small part of your job, but it’s a start. Spend your time where it counts.