One of my mentors, Lester T. Shapiro, taught me that the primary role of a leader is to ask relevant questions. If we get that right, leadership becomes much more influence and much less pushing an agenda. Stay curious, keep learning, and keep asking questions.
And when the questions lead you to a conclusion, maybe remember this:
High performance leaders must take care of their time. Here's a quick video with 20 quick time management tips.
Since the video does go quickly, here are the 20 tips: Create a daily planPeg a time limit for each taskUse your calendarUse an organizerKnow your deadlineLearn to say "no"Target to be earlyTime box your activitiesHave a clock visibly placed before youSet reminders 15 minutes beforeFocusBlock out distractionsTrack your time spentDon't fuss about unimportant detailsPrioritizeDelegateBatch similar tasks togetherEliminate your time wastersCut off when you need toLeave bugger time in between
Leaders don't usually ask for the problems they are confronted with, and yet there they are. Busy lives lead to a kind of numbing busyness that can detract focus from what is most important. For front line leaders, what is most important is solving problems and achieving goals.
Avoiding problems keeps them growing. To solve a problem we must first be willing. That takes time. Time to stop, breathe, and analyze the problem. Time to gather the will and resources need to first convert that negative problem into a positive goal and then to get busy solving it.
Solving a problem is mostly showing willingness to solve the problem. Are you willing?
-- doug smith
Call to Action: Write down three problems you've been avoidingCircle the one that troubles you the mostConvert that problem into a goal: what do you want instead of that problem?Get started solving it
For more help in a process for solving problems: Follow the links in the Leadership Toolbox on Solving ProblemsAttend (you can …
I suppose that if a problem is easy to solve that it isn't even a problem. Just solve it and be done with it. A problem like that is more like a decision than a problem.
We all have bigger problems than that, though. We all struggle at times to solve what feels like an unsolvable problems. Some problems truly can't be solved, and must then be managed. How can we tell the difference?
We need to ponder the possibilities. We need to change the problem into a goal and figure out how to bring that about. The difficulty is like a framework for building something we haven't thought of before. The problem stands there, a form waiting to redirect our notions of what is possible.
Tough or not, solvable or not, a problem creates a space for traction.
A problem you can't solve is give you room to grow.
-- doug smith
Leadership Call to Action
Create a list of three problems you have not been able to solve.
Next to each problem, write the one leadership skill or strength that…
Whether it is for yourself, your team, or your whole organization, we can help.
By answering a few questions on our Training Needs Analysis form and scheduling an appointment to chat with Doug we can identify the best, most direct, and most effective way to train you and your people.
The conversation usually takes about a half hour. After that you can decide your next steps. I'll be happy to make recommendations (and they don't always mean training with us -- if your needs call for using another source, vendor, or method I will be straight forward with that type of recommendation.)
To schedule a needs analysis phone call, start here.
-- doug smith
I help people develop leadership with clarity, courage, creativity, and compassion. To talk about your leadership development needs, contact me here.
Entrepreneur Magazine frequently offers useful time management tips. Here are 10 that are helpful. Don't worry too much about the revolutionary declaration that most time management advice is useless -- that would make THIS advice useless, too. It's not. It all depends on how you apply it, particularly with the discipline that you apply it.
All time management tips depend on people DOING them with the discipline to say NO to distractions and low-payoff items. Focus first (and most) on the HIGH PAYOFF items and you are likely to be happy with the results.
Here are the tips for additional review and application:
Carry a schedule and track all of your activities, conversations, actions, and even thoughts - for a week. Identify your productive vs. non-productive times.Assign time for your important activities. Put it in your schedule!Plan to spend at least 50% of your time in the activities and actions that produce most of your results.Schedule time for interruptions. You know the…
What's your favorite question? Mine is this: what have you learned today? We are blessed with learning opportunities every day from the workshops that we attend to the books that we read to the audios that we listen to and even the youtube videos we watch. We even learn from our mistakes. Learning is a major part of leadership and the whole game when it comes to developing leadership.
People who get excited about learning stay energized.
This video uses a similar process to one that I share in my workshops. The video is around 12 minutes long but can save you hours of toil and trouble in your future problem solving sessions. I like that they call it a jam. As a musician, I can relate to the collaborative tools used, even though much of it is in silence (which, incidentally, gives your quiet and reflective team members equal footing.)
Each of the steps is described in writing, and there's another link to the video here.
You'll need lots of sticky notes, whiteboard space, dots (two sizes) and markers. Always have extra markers whenever you use dry-erase markers because you don't want to run dry.
I recommend reaching agreements at the beginning on moving forward without taking anything personally, respecting each other, and following directions from the facilitator because this is a rapid process and any hurt feelings or excited debate will just slow you down.