I interact weekly with business owners and executives. One thing I’ve gleaned from these interactions is that despite the company size, industry, market, geographic location or history there are similarities between the challenges individuals in a leadership role face.
The most common leadership challenges include:
- Competing priorities
- Balancing time between family and work
- Lack of necessary funding
- Misalignment in leadership or management vision
- Inability to meet stakeholder needs
- Lack of predictability in customers and the market
To most, these leadership challenges represent the barriers or obstacles to achieving success. An attempt to manage these challenges can often lead to poor habits or ineffective behaviors. These behaviours can be debilitating to ensuring we maximize our effectiveness as a business leader…and our sanity as a human being.
Effective leadership results from knowing what to do, and what not to do. Here are five things you should stop doing now:
Stop beating yourself up.
Running a successful business, division or department requires drive, passion, and enthusiasm. Unfortunately, these attributes can also result in holding others to a very high (and often unrealistic) standard. There are very few that are wired like you. Therefore, you can’t beat yourself up as a result of the weaknesses in others. Find the best in the people you surround yourself with and exploit it.
Stop trying to solve other people’s problems.
A few weeks ago my wife told me she couldn’t get my son’s shoe-laces untied to remove and transplant the lace clips to his new shoes. My problem-solving mentality kicked in. Despite my wife’s request, I attempted and failed to untie the laces (shredding them to the point that they no longer functioned). You don’t become a business leader without having a “problem solver” mentality. But, this mentality can influence your desire to solve other people’s problems. Developing others requires letting them solve their own problems, albeit with a little encouragement. Encourage others to solve their own problems as a means of helping them to grow.
Stop allowing others to delegate to you.
Do you have employees or peers that like to dump their problems or issues on you? It may seem counter-intuitive, but allowing others to delegate their priorities to you will not help you or them. Instead, encourage others to tackle their own priorities and challenges by asking questions and providing encouragement. Challenging others to think beyond the bounds of their role forces them to think “outside of the box” and become more creative.
Stop majoring in minor things.
Jim Rohn put it best when he said “a lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.” Business leaders and executives have to be diligent in how and where they invest their energy, effort and time. After all, if you are chasing menial or tactical issues that are occurring on a daily basis, who is focusing on the growth and strategic objectives of the business?
Stop responding after hours.
We all do it. We all respond to emails, phone calls, and text messages after hours. What message does this send to others? Effective leadership does not result from being a 7-eleven. If you choose to work in your spare time, that’s your prerogative. Responding to the emails and messages from others during your downtime, that is unless the building is burning down, reduces the empowerment and accountability of your staff. Monitor but avoid responding to after-hours requests and watch others find solutions that you might never have considered.
Question: What do you believe is most crucial to your success in business? Doing the right things, or doing things right?
© Shawn Casemore 2017. All rights reserved.
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