As I write this leadership article, it’s ‘Cyber Monday’ – the day which is set aside to promote Christmas shopping from the seat of your pants – an internet extravaganza. Hopefully I can focus, knowing full well thousands of incredible deals are happening right now … if I could just sneak away for a click or two? …
Distractions are a huge issue when it comes to the development of leadership skills.
Your good intentions to focus on a needed area of development are often diluted by urgent requests, questions, interruptions, and endless tasks. Your plans get put off, pushed back and soon become distant memories. Your interest has faded. No progress has been made.
Just about two years ago I began asking people what they needed most to improve their performance at work? A significant number responded they need more ‘time’ during their work day (i.e. “they are way busy”).
Sorry folks, that’s something which just isn’t going to significantly change. Every organization I know is struggling to do more with fewer people, and I can’t see improvements in staffing levels or workloads getting better any time soon. More free time is a mirage.
The answer is clearly not being given more time – it’s “making time.”
The way to make time is to substitute the word ‘discipline.’ Daily discipline. Where you understand exactly where you want to go, what aspect(s) of your leadership skills you want to develop, and relentlessly making time every day, every week, every month until you’ve conquered it.
One of the findings of the ‘High Points Survey on Leadership’ is that managers are interested in practical applications vs. purely academic knowledge. They see leadership as a means to an end, where learning leads directly to solving problems, minimizing frustrations, and enabling greater productivity and harmony among their workers to get the job done.
In that context, leadership is reduced to techniques or methods.
Since the solution to most issues doesn’t reside in a single, simple answer – leadership becomes a relentless game of pursuit – seeking answers, putting them to work, and judging their efficacy.
As we approach the New Year, I’d like to encourage you to consider what aspect of your leadership needs most attention? If you can identify your primary developmental need, you can find the motivation to master it. Make it a resolution, create a daily process to reach the goal, and make it happen.
Got your topic?
Make 5 minutes a day. Research on the internet. Buy a book. Ask a friend. Think about it. You’ll be amazed what you can accomplish with a small amount of time … made regularly.
Good luck. It’s doable.
– Jerry Strom
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This article is based on *‘The High Points Survey: What Managers Most Want to Know about Leadership,’ copyright 2012, by Jerry Strom & Company, Inc. Download the White Paper at: http://www.jerrystrom.com/js_high-points.html