Good leaders make time for the most important things. Dr. Travis Bradberry said in his article, Critical Things Ridiculously Successful People Do Every Day, that successful people schedule to the minute, not the hour.
Are you making time for the right things?
Making time for family is wonderfully important and rich. Playtime, lunch time, nap time, and night time are pretty important as well.
Do you make time to deal with problems? Dealing with problems is one of the most important tasks every leader is faced with.
I recently had a minor accident in my vehicle. A pole ran right out in front of me and put a huge dent in my bumper. I say recently, it happened two months ago and I haven’t done anything about it yet. I have not made the time to get it in the shop. I have my reasons. (Stupid pole)
As a leader, you have to deal with dents in your bumper very frequently and it is not a choice you get to make whether to take the time to fix it or not. It is vitally important that you make the time and fix it. This can be very difficult to do because most of the time it is not a scheduled thing.
Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful when dealing with problems.
- Deal with it right now. This is particularly important if it is a major issue, but even small issues can fester like a sore toe until you can hardly walk. Deal with all issues now to keep them from getting bigger than they should.
- If it can’t be dealt with at the moment, block off time to fix the problem. Sometimes that means making an appointment with yourself and blocking off time on your calendar. If you set and appointment with yourself or whomever the problem is with, keep it. Don’t double book an appointment with yourself!
- Be relentless. This is a key trait of a good leader. Problems don’t go away on their own. Problems don’t go away if you stop half way through fixing them. They go away when they go away. EXAMPLE: I had an upset customer because they had to reduce their staff by 11 employees. We wanted to get their cost of printing under control because we felt it would keep them from having to lay off more people. We helped them take extreme measures to reduce those costs by $40,000 per year all while maintaining high document production. Our plan had 4 steps and has taken 6 months to accomplish. This was not an easy task, but it was very important to the customer and to us to deal with this situation quickly and effectively.
- Use your people effectively and thank them for their good work. Great leaders know when they need help. That’s why they hire people who are better at certain things than they are themselves. Use your people wisely and tell them thank you when they do a good job.
- Stay positive. Dealing with problems and negative situations can be a downer sometimes. One of the best ways to stay positive is to make time for what matters most, your family, friends, and close relationships like your significant other.
Robert Schuller said, “problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.”
Don’t let problems guide you in the wrong direction, steal your time, or overwhelmed you. Instead, treat them as a tool to become a better leader.
A parting thought… I know several great leaders that make time for playtime, lunch time, night time AND an occasional nap. You know who you are!
Super leaders always make time for their families.
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