‘I want to make a real difference.’
‘I want to have more influence.’
‘I want to make an impact.’
When I’m out working with leaders, these are the statements I hear from people in leadership roles almost every day.
And these are closely followed by:
‘I’ve got so much on my plate at the moment.’
‘Everything is high priority. It’s hard to know what to focus on.’
‘My to do list keeps growing.’
‘If I get through this next few days/weeks/months, then I can start ‘insert name of strategic project’.
Most people do not make the impact, have the influence or create the difference they intend to in their leadership roles. This applies just as much to experienced executives as to early leaders.
In his research on productivity and performance, Stephen Covey found that the highest performers, the ones who add value and make an impact, work primarily on the high impact and not yet urgent activities…more than 60% of their time.
It is not enough to be busy….The question is what are we busy about?
Henry David Thoreau
So what you focus on, the type of activity, has a large effect on the impact or value you add.
There’s more though.
How you go about the value adding activity will also determine how much impact and influence you have. How you lead, how you behave, how you communicate, how you collaborate, how you engage.
The impact of leaders with an inappropriate ‘how’ is well known. Low engagement, high turnover, poor behaviours, ineffective communication ……. creating consequences and costs to individuals, teams and the business.
In Gallup’s study of managers, they found that, “The manager accounts for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement.”
To become a leader of influence, who makes a difference and has an impact, you need to get back to basics. You need to be intentional about choosing what you do and how you do it.
If you don’t approach your leadership role with this kind of intention, you’ll be like a stopped clock. Right twice a day and the rest of the time taking up space and adding no value.
So be intentional with your execution:
- Doing things the wrong way is inefficient.
- Focusing on the wrong things is ineffective.
- If you focus on the wrong things, and you’re doing them the wrong way, you’re just making a mess. That’s inexcusable.
- Generate more value by doing the right things, the right way and become invaluable.
Many leaders are not sufficiently intentional. Or more correctly, they either do not have the skills or the will or both to be sufficiently intentional and become invaluable.
How do you become invaluable?
1. Be intentional about your choices. Focus on doing the right things, in the right way.
2. Develop your skills so you can execute your choices.
3. Be ruthlessly disciplined with yourself.
Love to know your thoughts.
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