For most of us, the most precious commodity we have is time. It’s often hard to find enough hours in the day for everything we need to do, let alone the things we want to do. You may find it difficult to even think about intentionally sharing time with others, but it’s an important element of leadership.
The other day one of the leaders I coach said, “Lolly, you keep me grounded in my humanness. I always get caught up in spreadsheets and processes and procedures, but you constantly remind me that my people are the most important aspect of my business.”
Many consultants say leaders should spend 90 percent of their time growing and innovating their business. But I strongly believe that if you discipline yourself to invest most of your time with your people, in the time that remains you’ll be more productive and focused on growth and innovation—and you’ll come out ahead by attending to your most important asset.
Here are some of the most important ways you can make a difference by giving your time to others:
Teachable time. The best leaders are good at creating teachable moments and opportunities for development and coaching. Employees enjoy having time devoted to learning and growth. And when they can learn from you—whether it’s a quick consultation on a specific issue or a seminar on new developments in your field—that time becomes even more valuable.
One-on-one time. One-on-one meetings with direct reports often feel more hurried and disorganized than they need to be. But with the right prompts, regular face-to-face connection provides an important way for people to share ideas and concerns that don’t have a chance to emerge in other settings. Make these meetings a priority, and spend the time really listening. The more you listen, the more you know, and the more you know the stronger your leadership will be.
Caring time. Good leaders care about their employees, and the most memorable leaders go the extra mile. They make it a point to know their employees’ successes and struggles, and they care enough to ask—within appropriate boundaries—about people’s families, activities, and plans. Understanding the parts of life that give people meaning helps you know who they really are.
Time for support. Either during one-on-one meetings or at other times, encourage employees to let you know how you can support them. It can be hard to get the ball rolling—people may feel they should be able to do things on their own. Work to create a collaborative culture where asking for help is seen as a sign of strength.
Time to extend appreciation. When you make the time to reward and recognize employees at important moments, it’s a good investment. But even better is letting them know in spontaneous moments how much you value them.
Lead from within: Get smart about how you invest your time, and remember that the best investment is giving that time to others.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- How Great Leadership is Generated in Significant Crisis
- How to Lead Your Team When The Future Is Uncertain
- The One Aspect Of Crisis Management That No One Talks About
- How The Best Leaders Are Already Planning Past The Crisis
- How to Engage Employees During Uncertain Times
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
Photo Credit: iStockPhotos
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.