Effective leadership requires effective time management habits. It is important to focus on the tasks that truly move projects and goals forward, instead of the tasks that don’t really make much of a difference. This article talks about some of the time management practices and concepts that are needed for leaders to be effective at managing their teams. Read on in this 2 part article for more!
A strategic way to boost your business leadership results, along with its profits, productivity and growth is through effective time management practices. Because time, as it is in any profession, is a critical resource in making business leadership actions profitable, innovative and transformative.
Before we continue, you need to appreciate this important fact about business leadership – whether we’re talking about market, innovative, strategic, situational, transformational, project or organizational leadership – leadership in any form is always a social activity.
So with that understanding, we can look at business leadership in three generic ways: as market leadership, organizational leadership and human capital leadership.
In business organizations, entrepreneurs may choose to invest their time in human capital related leadership activities, that is in leading, coaching or soliciting and recruiting the support of their associates and trading partners.
Entrepreneurial leaders also have opportunities to use their time to contribute to the quality, quantity or significance of life for their customers and clients. I call these actions a form of market leadership.
Business leadership tasks demand that leaders analyze, plan and re-order their budgets, cash flows, operational systems or their schedules, where their sole objective is to manage their time as profitably, effectively and creatively as possible. We can call these activities organizational leadership.
A fact-of-life for those professionals charged with business leadership responsibilities – which includes the executives, entrepreneurs and managers – they will usually encounter the most disruptions, interruptions or other forms of distractions to their scheduled activities. Unfortunately in the face of that reality, these business leadership personnel tend to immediately discount, ignore or underestimate the potential value in those unanticipated events.
If you ever hope to become an effective leader you should never focus your attention on the management of accomplishing tasks against a daily allotment of your time, you should however concentrate your energies on the management or maximizing the allocations of your significance.
We know that being effective means doing the right things. We also know that being efficient is doing things the right way. Are you doing the “right things” or are you doing things “the right way”?
The problem with the focus of most time management strategies is this, we are told to be efficient in our use of time, that is, we’re taught that the right way of doing time management is to plot whichever tasks we feel or believe we need to accomplish in a certain amount of time segments.
And in the case of business leadership, the right things for your usage of time must be based upon your contributions of quality, quantity or the value of your significance.
In a word, your contributions have to be acts that you take for the purpose of being of benefit to all the actors, artifacts or artifices, attributes and audiences engaged in your social activity. On the other hand, your significance must add a form of excellence, emphasis, essence, elevation, eminence, effectiveness, efficacy, efficiency, execution, elucidation, explanation, exposition, expression or esteem to your actions.
“Most executives, many scientists, and almost all business school graduates believe that if you analyze data, this will give you new ideas. Unfortunately, this belief is totally wrong. The mind can only see what it is prepared to see.” – Edward de Bono, creativity expert
I advise my business leadership clients to keep strategic questions in mind whenever they engage in any activity. I call these mini-evaluations strategic because being strategic means being decisive, deliberate and dexterous – meaning leaders who wish to be strategic thinkers or questioners have to think through, think about and think with their actions, don’t they?
The purpose of those questions isn’t to generate answers consisting of one-word or a single idea. And leaders shouldn’t use these questions to judge a moment-in-time as being either significant or worthless. Rather than making those types of value judgments, these questions should ensure you have competent, strategic responses prepared, organized and ready to go in advance, so that you can optimize, leverage or otherwise make the best use of those planned-for or unplanned-for periods of time.
Here is one set of example questions you could ask to help you make more effective use of your time, regardless of any interruption, or unexpected or distracting event.
“Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time.” – Pablo Picasso, artist
(Can I Make This) Quality Time?
- Is it pure? [resulting in no distractions, disruptions, delays from your goals or mission]
- Is it sweet? [warm, refreshing and enjoyable experience or environment or forum or venue]
- Is it absolute? [secure, or obligated to my relationship, or persuasive or memorable]
“We need to internalize this idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent.”
- USA President Barack Obama
Continued in Part 2.
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