Two common problems all good leaders face (and how to overcome them)

"The majority of difficulties that the participants said they experienced fell into two areas; time and other people.

The Problem of Time

Our research showed that more than 80% of participants pointed to time management as a problem, or something they were working on. It seems even the most well organised leader doesn’t get the balance right all the time!

Issues around time included achieving a balance between all the things they wanted to do, getting distracted and general prioritisation and organisation issues.

One of the key things about getting a better relationship with time and having more flow in your life is more to do with your attitude to how you use time, rather than time itself. There are only 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year for us all.

One of the key things about getting a better relationship with time and having more flow in your life is more to do with your attitude to how you use time, rather than time itself."

Karen Meager, co-author of Real Leaders for the Real World

Let’s look at one aspect of this, how you chunk time.

Some people think about time in very small chunks; half days, hours or even minutes. Some people chunk time in weeks, months or even years. Look at the diary view you like most - is it day, week to view or monthly? This is important because bad use of time is often because we are not working with our preferred way of chunking time.

If you sort in small chunks then you need ‘to do lists’ that support that. Break down larger tasks into tasks that take half an hour rather than having that ‘big’ project on your list. If it’s too big you will get stuck and probably procrastinate. If you sort in big chunks of time then your outcomes and goals need to reflect that. Group together small (probably mundane to you) tasks into bigger headings, where you can see how all these things will benefit the bigger picture, will give you more motivation to complete them.

Often we learn so called organisation skills from others, a book or on a training course, but a better way of getting organised is to understand how your brain works and structure your activities to suit your way of working. 

The Problem of Other People

The study highlighted a key point of conflict for many leaders; working with others and leading a team contributed highly to many leaders’ enjoyment of the role, but when asked about the things they disliked, most participants also highlighted some undesirable behaviour in others. Issues around other people fell into three key unlikeable behaviours; arrogance, laziness and bullying.

Dealing with these behaviours is not easy and it’s important as a leader to look behind the behaviour to what’s driving it. Let’s look at arrogance as an example. People who seem arrogant usually have confidence issues - why do you think they have to tell everyone they’re so great all the time? As a leader giving them balanced feedback, even spending more time commenting on the things they do well (I know it’s hard but try it) can help to bring their behaviour in line.

By looking behind the behaviour as a leader you can become more creative and more productive in dealing with people problems."

Karen Meager

By looking behind the behaviour as a leader you can become more creative and more productive in dealing with people problems, rather than spending your time having to clear up after them - which is one of the things that annoyed our leaders the most."

Karen Meager, is the co-author of Real Leaders for the Real World and is the co-founder of Monkey Puzzle Training & Consultancy.

 

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