Timely Leadership

365 days in a year. 24 hours in a day. 60 minutes in an hour. 60 seconds in a minute.

These are the numbers that make up our lives. We all have the same number to work within. The difference between winning leaders and those who struggle with winning is all of the “stuff” that happens within these parameters. Winning leaders understand, and believe, that time is limited and they must be as efficient and effective with the time that they are given.

What would we do if we were given more time?  If I had the power to give you one extra hour today, what would you do with it?

I’ve asked this question many times to workshops full of leaders and their answers are as varied as the people themselves. “Spend more time with loved ones” tops the list. Others include: vacation and travel more, workout and improve overall health, focus on hobbies like painting or reading, and believe it or not, one that I’ve heard frequently is cleaning! Now I like a clean and organized home and office just as much as the next guy, but I can definitely say that I wouldn’t spend my extra hour with a dust rag in my hand! But it is their extra hour after all!

Obviously, I don’t have the power to grant an extra hour to you, so where could it come from? In this high-tech, digital world of email, cell phones, text messages, and social networking that were designed to ease communication to make us more efficient, data shows that we are actually feeling less efficient and more and more stressed under the weight of it all. So where are we going to gain this time?

Winning leaders understand that gaining time means taking action. They create synergistic teams that are built of highly talented individuals who each offer unique contributions to the overall group. The results of the team’s efforts are far greater than the sum of their individual parts. They are intertwined and focused on clear behavioral expectations that lead them to reach their result expectations. The leaders focus their energy on hiring the right person who has a clear set of transferable skills and natural, developable talents. They then eliminate Knowledge Gaps through teaching and training that grows both knowledge and skills. Then they eliminate Importance Gaps by setting the expectations with clear, concise, and validated communication. Once they have ensured that their team knows what to do and how to do it and have observed them executing to their high level of expectations, the winning leaders delegate the duties to them and empower them to take the action on their own. They provide a continued and balanced level of support and direction, but the leader doesn’t get in the way of the team’s action. The execution is now the responsibility of his team members. Just as a quarterback hands off the football and lets the running back run the ball, the winning leader empowers the team to make the touchdown.

This is how winning leaders free up their time.

They understand that delegating or empowering team members, without first dedicating time to their training, development and the creation of importance will not free up their time. They know that taking short cuts to setting their team up for success will result in extra time being gobbled up with putting out fires, counseling team members, rebuilding morale and customer confidence, and ultimately rehiring new associates.

True time management does not come from the latest gadget, but instead from teams of confident, competent and motivated team members who are empowered to take ownership of their own action.

Gain time back in your life. Close the Knowledge Gap. Close the Importance Gap. Lead your team to take action by giving them the tools and the skills to use them. They will thank you for your confidence in them. And you will thank them for the extra time they give you in return.

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