This tip is so simple you might be tempted to skip it. But try it out for a few weeks, and see what you notice. This is one “tiny habit” that will help you excel as a leader.
Schedule 15 minutes a week (yes, blocked out on your calendar) to focus on what small steps you will take that week to better lead your organization. Choose Monday mornings if you like to set your priorities each week; choose the end of your Friday if you prefer to plan ahead for the next week.
A study conducted by the Harvard Business School found that the simple habit of deliberate reflection on your experience will improve your effectiveness as a leader faster than having more experiences. In other words, regular, deliberate self-reflection results in both improved performance and increased self-efficacy.
I wrote a blog post way back in 2010 about the World's Simplest Leadership Model, which I've been using with my clients since 2006. This leadership model's 3 main concepts - clear direction, employee engagement, and effective execution - apply to today's tip.
When people know the outcomes they’re working toward, they more easily maintain focus toward delivering results. Ask yourself one or more of these questions:
Then decide: what action will you take this week to bring a little more clarity?
Employee engagement is linked to all kinds of great business outcomes. Gallup reports that highly engaged teams show over 20% greater productivity when compared to less-engaged teams, with teams in the 99th percentile having quadruple the success rate as those in the first percentile. High engagement also lowers turnover rates and improves employee satisfaction overall - two paramount goals for today’s leaders.
Then decide: what action will you take or encourage this week that will slightly improve engagement?
Progress depends on people getting the right work done in the best way possible, and in a timely manner to achieve results. As the overall “conductor” of your organization, taking a few minutes a week to notice the bottleneck(s) in your business will help you direct attention to improving delivery.
Then decide: who should be addressing this bottleneck, and over what time frame. And identify one small step you will take to raise your concern, build buy-in, gather the team, or prompt action.
If you’re up for a larger challenge, try 15 minutes each day. Whether you decide to spend 15 minutes a week or a day, this tiny habit will yield grand benefits as your focus stays on these leadership accountabilities. And whether you choose to reflect on all three each day, or just the one that needs attention each week/day, your company will benefit.
Executive attention is the scarcest resource in your organization. You should invest it with intention, and spend your time on your “highest and best use.” To double down, coach your leadership team members to do the same.
Allotting 15 minutes a week to reflect on your leadership accountabilities will help you take action where you can make the best contribution. Simply put, this habit will make you a better leader!