There are a lot of busy leaders out there! Frantic, rushing from meeting to meeting, working long hours and dealing with everything! Senior executives wearing it like a badge of honour. I am busy therefore I am adding value. I’m busier than you so I must be more effective. Really? I think not.
Hard questions need to be asked around this notion of busyness. Technology is dumbing us down as leaders. How productive are you being? What value are you generating? What income is being produced? Are you being busy because it is easy and being truly productive is hard work? Being busy is ironically being lazy! Lazy because you are not challenging yourself to really think about the impact you can have.
You may have seen an article recently of a very significant CEO talking about how he gets up very early on a Sunday to respond to hundreds of emails! That would have to be one of the most ridiculous things I have heard in terms of it being an effective utilisation of their time. Surely there are other areas that a CEO should be spending their time around strategy, clients, key stakeholders and other areas of their organisation? Are they a control freak that does not allow their team to make decisions? Do they know where they add value to the business? Are they empowering the team to get on with things so that they can do the hard work of being still, quiet and really focussing on strategy and where the business needs to be?
The quite scares most leaders because it speaks the truth. The truth around challenging yourself around where you spend your time. The truth around what you need to delegate and empower others to get on with the job. The truth around saying no to too many competing priorities that don’t really matter. The truth around what success for you and your organisation really looks like and what true effectiveness would really mean. It forces you to think about your big rocks and not your pebbles.
Take some time out to slow down to speed up. Use the quiet to really challenge your thinking, your approach, where you spend your time and what impact you are having. You might just go from being scared of the quite times to embracing the fact that you need time in isolation, free of distractions and challenging yourself to do your best work.