Leadership has become a challenging game, and puzzling too!
Having evolved from the ‘manger’ in the industrial age to a ‘leader’ in the information age, it has taken a complex shape in the imagination age that we have entered. The new normal world is described as D-VUCA-D. (Diverse, Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous and Digital world.)
As technology works out newer ways to make life easier for leaders and save their time, more leaders paradoxically appear to be left with less time than ever. The demands from bosses, peers, subordinates, clients, stakeholders are growing exponentially and they demand responses in real time. Gone are the days when you wrote a letter and expected a response in a few days. If the letter was addressed to someone in USA you would easily wait for 20 days. And now? One expects it in a few hours if not in minutes. A whatsapp message invites a real time instant answer.
In all this chaos are distractions from family and friends. “You didn’t respond to my message on whatsapp?” says my daughter. It was so important!
How does a leader manage all this?
Notwithstanding all gadgets, tools, and manpower resources in your workplace, the answer lies in effective use of time. Attention spans are shrinking and content, whether print, audio or audio-visual, is exploding all around us. The fact that we have the same 86400 seconds a day that we always had remains unchanged. We can use, waste, or invest this time as we please.
A leader cannot succeed unless each of these 86400 is given its worth as these seconds add up to minutes, hours and days, and finally to lifetimes. A failure to do so may cost you a career.
I believe that skills every leader needs to develop are ‘imagination, creativity and innovation.’ He / she needs to operate ahead of the predictability curve. Thinking on the feet and quick implementation is the name of the game. There is no option but to learn how to invest every single second focused on desired outcome.
Here are quick 6 keys to leadership success.
Key #1. Set Clear Goals.
The first, and most important strategy you can employ to manage your time is to set clear goals for yourself. As a Lions leader, you will want to multi task in the office. The best favour you can do to yourself is to determine what those goals are and make sure your efforts are always directed toward their achievement.
Key #2. FOCUS.
Follow One Course Unless Success happens. Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and then go relentlessly for it. Avoiding distractions is a learnable art. There is no option but to go for it.
Key #3. Prioritisation.
The circumstances and the environment will compel you to divert your attention. Now you have to see who is stronger, you or your environment? Learn to ‘get’ the best as against ‘do’ the best. Hug these 4 ‘Ds.’
- Do – The most important to accomplish, that you must do yourself.
- Delegate – It frees up your time for other things, and ensures that resources are used wisely.
- Delay until another time – Some things can wait. The best policy here is to consider when things are due, how long it will take to accomplish them, and what your current workload will allow.
- Delete – If you have set goals wisely, you can identify tasks that are just not important. Delete them.
Key #4. ROTI.
We all know ROI. Return On Investment. Let us learn the art of investing (and not spending / wasting) our time and focus on Return On Time Invested. It is not measured just by the financial return but also by the happiness, excitement, or the sense of satisfaction achieved.
ROTI can also be an effective tool for group participation in an event or meeting, to ascertain what did you gain out of the meeting. Analysis can give a valuable ‘feedforward’ for enhancing ROTI in future.
Key #5. Entrepreneurship of time.
Entrepreneurs push hard on getting the highest profits by investing the least resources.
Lets apply this to time. ‘Create’ more time for yourself for the most important tasks. Invest in people, gadgets, tools, processes and ideas to make this happen.
Key #6. Celebrate success.
Celebrate the achievement of your goals to maintain a healthy balance in life between work and play. Reward yourself when you complete a task or finish a project. If you work in a team setting, reward the efforts of all involved. Celebration is a vital part of all project management. No matter how tight your schedule looks, this is TIME WELL SPENT!
The greatest challenge for a leader today is to cope up with the speed of change. This relates to doing the most in the least time with the least of resources. Thinking on the feet, creative ideation and working in a team are but a few solutions to this ever-growing challenge.