[July 23, 2014] Senior leaders are busy people with too much to accomplish and too little time to get it all done. Using time wisely is a key to successful leadership. One of the most difficult of good habits to obtain and to keep is the focus required to make effective use of time. Superficially this is easy. Just keep a calendar and have a good assistant who can manage your calendar, wasting no time and with no “white space” showing. Unfortunately, this mistake is too often the root of ineffective use of time and an ineffective leader.
Those in senior leadership positions recognize that their time is roughly spent in three categories: meeting senior shareholders, working administrative tasks, and talking to people while visiting various parts of the organization. The time required in each varies but generally a productive senior leader spends about the same amount of time in each.
The executive assistant who manages the calendar will invariably block administrative tasks on the calendar and do a great job. The senior leader must know that it is the leader’s job to balance the demands of time, not the assistant. Effective use of time is not measured by a full calendar. Many leaders get trapped into calendar management and overlook the demands of those people outside the office.
Shareholders are important. They include people in the board of directors, suppliers, government agencies, advocates of the organization, volunteers, customer organizations, etc. This is the area least likely to receive attention but produces significant, long-term payoff for the senior leader’s organization. The attention required does not seem as immediate as the demands of the office but the importance cannot be overstated.
Another key to good use of time is obtained by eliminating those things that are neither productive nor add as great of value to the senior leader. The senior leader should personally study this because it may mean seeing people less in the office; something to which they may have become accustomed. Making changes to the way a senior leader manages time may upset some people. Thus it will require some expectation management and clear communication to those affected.
Tomorrow the “good habit” will be “show your human side.”
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Good Habits #1: Never Assume Anything: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-1-never-assume-anything/
Good Habits #2: Walk Around and Talk with People: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-2-walk-around-talk-people/
Good Habits #3: Read Mission-Related Material: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-3-read-mission-related-material/
Good Habits #4: Take the Initiative: https://www.theleadermaker.com/good-habits-4-take-the-initiative/