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Where Leaders Fail

It was the end of another work day. As I reviewed the day’s activities, I felt drained and questioned what I had actually accomplished.

Truth be told, if the actions of the day were counted up, such as meetings attended and email responses, one could say I was productive. But I didn’t feel productive.

Juxtapose that with yesterday. I had far less meetings in my calendar, but felt highly useful and satisfied.

What was the difference? I spent my day with my people.

If you had looked at my calendar yesterday, you would have seen:

  • Blocks of time with specific teammates to work on tough issues and training topics

  • A couple walking meetings where our sneakers went on our feet and our agenda went on our phones and we walked and talked

  • A dedicated time block for lunch

  • Time marked off at the end of the day to wrap up anything outstanding before heading home

While I technically accomplished less items that could be marked off a checklist, I felt more fulfilled.

I also felt more dedicated to my job. I had the deep impression that I had made a difference.

I am a true introvert, yet at the end of the day I was energized to go home to my family, enjoy the evening, and wake up rejuvenated the next day.

The day wasn’t draining in the usual way.

This taught me the number of actions or transactions does not equate to leadership success and sustainability.

Leadership success and sustainability comes from pouring into people. Working alongside people. Being with people.

Humanity is to work for humanity. True authentic leaders work for the humans entrusted to their care.

While we may not be able to set aside time with our people every day, here are some ways we can have a sense of satisfaction by intentionally having with days.

  1. Ensure you have occasional full days where your people are the focus. Even for those of us introverts, this can be rejuvenating in a one-on-one situation.

  2. Hold yourself accountable for checking in on your people. Set up recurring meetings to talk personal development with each of your teammates and check in on them as a human being. This doesn’t need to be long, even 20 minutes makes an incredible difference.

  3. Hold office retreats where your whole team can come away together and recognize we are all human (sometimes the hectic days help us forget that fact). This should happen during work hours, if possible, so there isn’t a struggle between work and home life. Even in a remote setting, this is possible and has powerful outcomes.

Here's to more with days.


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