As a leader, you have an endless list of things that need to get done. On the list is strategy, leading and coaching, hiring and growing your team, budgeting, and launching new products and services. Most likely, these are the very things that fall last on your list because of other day-to-day odds and ends like putting out fires, solving problems, getting projects back on track, and resolving client or partner issues. The balance between the day-to-day activities and focusing on the big hits that move the business and team forward can be difficult to juggle.
If you find yourself spending most of your time on the day-to-day emergencies, it can be a sign that it’s time to make a few changes. But, how do you know for sure you’re misallocating your time?
Here are a few signs:
- You’re staying late at work while your team ends their day at a reasonable time.
- A team member or two have come to you requesting additional responsibilities to fill their day.
- You find yourself logging in late at night to review work your team has sent you to take a look at. You spend the next hour or so reworking the deliverable.
- You’ve caught yourself thinking, “If I want something done right, I need to do it myself.”
- You cancel one-on-one meetings with your team members, often at the last minute.
- When ending a meeting with a direct report, your to-do list is noticeably longer than theirs.
- The two-hour time block on your calendar to focus on strategic activities usually gets blown up by 9am to resolve the latest burning issue.
- You’ve found the best time to get the big things done is Sunday morning while your family sleeps in.
- You’ve postponed taking a day off numerous times.
- You haven’t had a chance to review and map progress against your team goals for at least two weeks.
- Your boss has hinted that you may not have the capacity to take on the next big initiative. The one you were most looking forward to.
On the surface, things are getting done. But not the big things. The projects and initiatives that will take you, individuals on your team, and the business to the next level are stagnant.
It appears to be the nature of the beast given your leadership role. What you may not see in the day to day, unless you look up from the weeds, is that you’re likely not leveraging your team effectively.
In short, you’re getting in your own way.
The difference maker here is learning to delegate. Realizing that it’s time to move over and teach others on your team how to take on greater responsibility. In turn, you’ll be able to do the same.
Your challenge for the week:
Pick five tasks from your list this week to delegate. Then, step aside as your team members take the lead. Will they have questions? Probably. Will they make mistakes? Maybe. Will you end the week feeling like you moved a big priority forward? Absolutely.
Let me know how it goes this week!
– Jackie Simon