How to Achieve More Without Burning Out
Our early career paths as young and fresh leaders are often marked by energy, speed and determination. We rise to meet new challenges with gusto and welcome the imposition of more responsibility. However, there comes a point, perhaps due to age-related limitations to our ability to just keep doing more, or to the sheer volume of work encountered as we grow in seniority, when we must find a new way of achieving our ever-expanding goals.
Here are a few tips that will help us to do so:
- Focus: Working in bursts on the things that really matter will free up some of our capacity. Whilst multi-tasking is often a necessity, countless studies have shown that we are more productive when we are able to focus on one issue at a time. We should plan to do so where that is feasible.
- Empower your team: This is always an important aspect of leadership and it becomes even more so as we approach the limits of our capacity. The more engaged, empowered and equipped our teams are, the more we can achieve. This is very different from merely delegating tasks: if your team is engaged its members will use their collective initiative to proactively solve problems and realise opportunities. Note here the importance of clarity and communication to ensure they are doing the right things and staying within the boundaries you set for them. Coaching/mentoring and psychometric insights into their motivations can help here. I find TSDI an excellent tool for facilitating such growth.
- Look after your health: In the 1980s, there was a popular saying that 'Lunch is for wimps!'. Many still have the impression that if they take time for meals or use their full leave allowance they will look weak or uncommitted. That is a foolish notion. Of course, there are times when pressing needs mean long days and cancelled holidays, but if that is a constant feature in our working lives we are storing up trouble and guaranteeing that our productivity will drop (to say nothing of the knock-on effects in other areas of our lives). Getting enough rest and exercise, along with a healthy diet, really does improve capacity (I speak from experience!).
- Be decisive: There is little that undermines effective leadership more than being indecisive. The more indecisive a leader is, the more time and other resources he/she will waste and the more he/she will frustrate the teams which need direction. Note that decisiveness is not the same as rashness: the effective leader is able to make quick decisions when required on the one hand, but also to wisely use the time available to arrive at a considered decision on the other. In short, he/she will make very clear, timely and well-communicated decisions.
I hope these tips help. if you have any which may benefit others, please add as a comment to this post. Thank you.