So the other day I was talking to a really talented up-and-coming leader about her new role.
She was recounting to me how busy she was, and how hard it was to keep up with all the tasks.
This lady is really strategic in her thinking, so I was intrigued as to how she had already got
sucked into this vortex as it wasn't her normal operating style.
So I asked – and this is what she told me – her new boss specifically said to her that the job
wasn't about being strategic – it was all about being reactive. Direct quote "being reactive is the
Now you can imagine that I was horrified by that statement, but sadly, not that surprised.
I wasn't surprised because I knew that unfortunately, for this leader in question, they were simply
role modelling the behaviours of their leader – and so it goes – bad habits being passed on from
one leader to the next.
As I often talk about, as a leader, the worst thing you can do is constantly react. That is the
fastest way to becoming a slave to your inbox. As my friend said to me, it would be easy to just
let my inbox set the agenda instead of setting my own agenda!
So if you can feel this happening, what can you do?
- Carve out some time and get really clear on your role as the leader. What are the strategic things that you need to deliver? What are you accountable for?
- Work out where you will have the most impact – what are the 3 or 4 inputs that will really impact the result you are trying to achieve?
- Of all the reactive things that keep coming up what are the common ones? Instead of reacting to the problem every single time, what are the causes? You are far better served focusing on fixing the cause not the symptom.
- Start to build a 'problem solving' culture. Instead of allowing people to dump their issues on you, invite them to bring a solution to the table instead of just dumping and running. The more consistent you are with this, the more solutions will be presented to you, as well as a healthy respect for your time.
- Remind yourself what you are accountable for. If you get to the end of 12 months and you have spent the year reacting to tasks instead of being more strategic with your time and energy, what will you have to show for it?
Remember, your role as a leader is not to do the tasks! It's to enable your team to be as successful as they can be.