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Leadership Secrets – Time is of the Essence

Leadership secrets rarely are secrets.  We can observe leaders in the most obvious and not so obvious places.  Recently I sat front row at Hippie Tendencies’ live performance in Denver and was awe struck by the lyrics created and sung by my friend Lisa Simmons: “Time is of the essence…precious and relentless….better learn my lessons…”   Her electric energy, and the fact that she was on that stage, as the lead vocalist in her own band, with an adoring crowd, is evidence of her leadership.

What makes a great leader?  Their biggest secret:  leaders fully exploit their greatest strengths, what they love to do. In turn, they find others in their tribe who excel in the areas they don’t.  For band members it may seem more straightforward than in our corporate world.  They know who will sing, who will play the bass, keyboard, guitar.  In our corporate worlds we have “job titles”, but we often get pulled into endless tasks that don’t leverage our greatest strengths.  Great leaders ensure the majority of their time is spent on what they are best at.

Time is of the essence.

“But all the other things have to get done, and I’m the only one I trust to do them.”  Then it’s time to groom someone to handle those tasks you shouldn’t be doing and let those tasks go.  Often the pressure and strain we feel at work is not how much we have to do, but what we’re doing.  When we are doing things we love time flies by, we look forward to it, we get energized.   If it’s draining you, then you have to get rid of it.  Great leaders know their unique role in their organization and focus on it.  At the same time, they pitch in for “all hands on deck” situations (which also demonstrates to the team no job is above them).  And identify their team’s interests and growth opportunities.

Keys to your sanity:

1. Figure out what you aren’t so good at, aren’t interested in and shouldn’t be doing.   Eliminate them from your job over a period of time.   Find people in your organization that are good at those tasks and want to do them.  Everybody who works with you already knows what you aren’t good at.  If you don’t know what you aren’t that good at, ask your peers or employees!

2. Identify the two to three areas where you can make the biggest contribution.  What energizes you, excites you, and where others are amazed at your passion and confidence are key areas to consider.  Prioritize those early in your day so they always get done.  Sometimes our days are filled with none of these items but the “must haves to the success of the business” take precedence.

3. Develop other leaders.  Quit making all the decisions.  Get in the habit of saying “I’ll let you decide” and asking “what would you do”?  Very quickly you will learn who your true leaders are and whom you can trust.  You will end up with an organization that reflects your strengths, not your weaknesses.

Check out “The Bite Me School of Management” videos and book for more zaniness.

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