As a leader, it can sometimes feel like you daily task list grows longer every day, and each time you ‘tick’ something off, new activities and tasks appear which you need to undertake with high priority.
The feeling of treading water is a common trait felt by managers and leaders the world over, especially during times when your workload is significant.
Your team rely on you to steer the ship, and you can only do this effectively when you are in complete control of your workload.
Do you sometimes feel as though your management tasks get in the way of being the best leader you can be?
As we work closely with managers at various stages of their leadership careers, we have exclusive insight into what the most successful leaders do every day. So, we have compiled the best strategies together in today’s post.
1. Every Successful Day Begins with a Plan
I’ll start with this because although it sounds simple, it is amazing how many managers find their weekly and daily to-do lists get swamped under ‘urgent’ daily tasks that land on their desks.
As a leader, it can seem like you are putting out fires every day, and the routine tasks get buried underneath this.
To increase efficiency, have a working ‘to-do’ list. Ensure that you set aside a set amount of time every day (preferably in the morning) to complete those tasks that have to be done periodically.
How often has a seemingly ‘urgent’ issue taken precedence over a more pressing issue in your office? This happens more regularly than you might think, and it is usually down to a simple priority mix-up. Efficient leaders are committed to completing the must-do daily tasks, no matter how pressing the jobs are for the rest of the day.
As a leader, it can be easy to fall into the habit of believing that you have to carry your company’s burdens on your shoulders. Great leaders realise that they can’t do everything themselves, and they become adept at dividing and delegating tasks most efficiently.
Learning when to recognise the difference between ‘important’ and ‘urgent’ tasks, and assign these to your team accordingly, so that you don’t feel swamped.
3. Eliminate Distractions
This is easier said than done, especially in today’s hyper-connected world. It can seem as though you are operating at the height of impoliteness not to respond instantly to every email that lands in your inbox.
Responding to every email and message straight away might feel efficient, but it can cause more problems than it solves. Set aside specific points in the day to respond to emails, for example, 10 am, 2 pm and 5 pm. This way, you do not become distracted with replies that you want to ‘just get out of the way’ that end up being 30-minute responses.
4. Manage Your Mood
It is the reality of being a manager that when things go wrong, the responsibility lies with you. Thankfully, with a good team and with excellent management skills, you can minimise these occurrences, but the fact is that sometimes there will be times of uncertainty and conflict.
It is a scientifically proven fact that happiness makes you more productive. Therefore, holding on to your anger or frustration will reduce your productivity by a significant amount. Be a smart leader and let go of a bad mood as soon as it starts to take up space in your mind.
5. Get Your Work-Life Balance Right
The increased pressure of a leadership role means that it is of utmost importance to make sure that you get your work-life balance in sync.
It is in a leader’s best interest to ensure you spend enough time with your family and to do the things that you love. This way, you will come to work feeling refreshed and invigorated, not drained and over-stressed, which leads me onto my next point.
6. Get Enough Sleep
In recent years, it seems that successful leadership has become synonymous with working 18-hour days and wearing these long days as a badge of pride. However, the most efficient leaders know that your best work only happens when you are adequately rested.
Scientists back the importance of getting around 8 hours of sleep per night, and it is proven to increase productivity. So the next time you think about staying in the office late to ‘get ahead’, you might be doing more harm than good to your productivity and efficiency.
7. Never Stop Learning
Finally, the most efficient managers never stop learning – about themselves, from their team, and their peers and competitors.
Lifelong learning streamlines every process; it makes every decision you make more manageable and allows you to tackle problems from a variety of perspectives.
Sticking to your own unchanging beliefs can halt proceedings and cause inefficiency. Learning when to say ‘I was wrong’ might seem unnatural to your leadership instincts, but it is something that all great leaders must learn to do.
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