I can always tell the difference between experienced and new leaders.
Do you want to know how I can tell?
One slacks off a lot.
Experienced leaders understand this concept:
Let me tell you a quick story to illustrate my point:
Recently, one of my coaching clients came to me dismayed that he wasn’t being productive enough.
He felt that he was only putting in his best efforts on high-profile activities and not doing enough for routine, mundane tasks.
“Are you not doing the routine tasks or are you missing deadlines?”, I asked. “No,” he said. “I just don’t feel productive”.
My feedback to him was to think about the mundane tasks as a recovery period.
Top teams and top athletes don’t practice or even compete at the championship level all the time.
They will get tired and injured and won’t be able to perform at their best when it really matters.
The same is true at work.
💡Usually new leaders are overachievers who are used to giving A+ work on almost everything.
So, this advice feels strange at first. You will be concerned that you are underperforming….that you will be found out.
Here’s the thing. Now that you are a leader, there is too much to do at the A+ level. So, you will have to learn 2 things very quickly.
(1) how to delegate and
(2) how to be comfortable strategically slacking off.
⚠If you don’t accept this, the really important stuff will suffer. THAT is the real underperforming.
Hopefully, you have a good boss who will give you constructive feedback on what is a B priority and whether your B work is actually B or C-.
If you aren’t sure, ASK!
I don’t recommend that you say, “I plan to slack off on some stuff, boss”.
But you could say this:
“Hello, Boss. I have a lot on my plate at the moment. Can you help me prioritize?”
In time, you will figure out what requires your best efforts and what can be done with minimal effort.
❓This week, which tasks can get your B work?
Are you an advanced-degree scientist or engineer who would like help making the leap from technical expert to influential leader?
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