Three Steps To Leadership Triage
This past week was not a great week for me (Mark). More then a few things fell through the cracks including a few meetings when I simply didn’t show up. People counted on me at work and I didn’t pull through. Thankfully, my co-worker, Alex, is my closest friend, has my back and covered for me. That being said, I sensed his frustration with me by the end of the week. I also put my leadership to the test in the eyes and minds of those that I follow and those I lead by Friday. I have some repairs to make. All that happened because of the chaos that I permitted entry in my personal and professional life last week. This month’s post is abnormally personal because I’m writing it to myself. Here’s what I’m going to do next week to practice triage in my own work life, and to put some things back together. I hope that if you are in the same place as me that you can use these same tools to stem the bleeding and stop the leaking in your leadership journey.
To set yourself up as an expert is to set yourself up for failure, but to set yourself up as a leader is to set yourself on a journey. Therefore, as I write and talk on Relevant Leadership, I’m inviting you to join me on a journey. I’m not setting myself up as an expert. I am not an expert. I believe experts are myths. The world moves too fast for anyone to be an expert anymore. I definitely don’t have any of this figured out completely. All I know is that what happened last week is not workable for me into the future. I’m guessing that if you’ve ever missed meetings, lost important documents, or completely forgotten about deadlines, then that’s not working for you either.
When our leadership leaks, it bleeds out in chaos. Leadership thrives only within the freedom of some strict boundaries. They may look different in various situations and settings, but powerful leadership always flows from a place of discipline. So here are three disciplines that I’m going to implement this week.
1. I’m going to write everything down. Whether you’re a proven genius or not, no one will follow you if you keep forgetting that Friday appointment you made with them on Wednesday afternoon, because you didn’t think you needed to write it down. They may not say they don’t trust you anymore but they’ll stop asking you to get together on Friday afternoons because they can’t trust you to show up. If you make a commitment, then write it down where you will see it when it matters.
2. I’m going to start with something productive. It’s easy to get pulled into things in life that aren’t important and aren’t urgent. The easiest time to do that is the moment we wake up. If the morning isn’t the most productive time of the day for you, that’s fine, just don’t waste it. Start off strong. Wastes of time can waste our days and make us feel like a waste.
3. I’m going to schedule time for myself. Get “me time” on in your calendar. If you don’t, one of two things will happen: 1) It will never happen. You’ll work as a leader until there’s no time left to go fishing, ride your bike, spend time with your husband or wife, play with your kids, play your xbox, or whatever you do that renews you. Leadership takes away your “me time,” when you don’t defend it. 2) You’ll get fed up with having no time for yourself, grab your kayak, and twenty minutes into your water getaway you’ll remember that you forgot about that meeting, that email, that whatever that was really important. Now you have some explaining to do. Get your “me time” on your schedule and defend it like it’s as important as your office hours–it is!
If you see me this week, I hope you won’t see me without my planner in my hand and a pen in my pocket, so I can write down and remember all those impromptu meetings that I’ll say yes to and need to remember. I’ll be starting each day with a book or Bible in hand, when I’m not starting off with an early commitment at the office. Finally, this Friday is already labeled “Adventure Friday.” That way when I’m out on my kayak or bicycle I won’t be getting a call from my boss wondering where I am. I hope you’ll join me in taking these three small steps toward a more disciplined leadership journey. Let me know how it’s going. I would love to join the adventure with you!