Young managers often believe that it is important to show their leaders how much they can get accomplished in a work day. They want to make a very positive impression. So what do they do?

They rush through the day striving to get as much done as they can. They create checklists, sometimes very long, and try to check off as many boxes as possible before they head home for the evening, perhaps to check off even more boxes after dinner or after putting their kids to bed.

As a leader, do you still try to check off as many boxes as possible during your work day? When you do that, you may be getting many tasks done, but are you getting the right tasks done? Do you realize that in your quest to check as many boxes as possible, you are serving as an ineffective role model for your teammates?

You are teaching people that checking boxes off on projects is a goal to be achieved each day. You are teaching them that quantity is more important than quality. Your are teaching them that a culture of busyness is valued more than a culture of productivity.

Leaders do not get paid to show how busy we can be. We are compensated for helping our teammates accomplish meaningful goals in service of our organization’s mission and strategic objectives. How can we as leaders cultivate a culture of learning, productivity and achievement rather than a culture of busyness?

We can be intentional about how we show up for our teammates. We can communicate clearly about what is truly important. We can focus on those things that are important rather merely on those things that are urgent.

Here are several additional strategies we can employ as we lead our teams:

-We can teach our teammates that working long hours does not earn them a badge of honor

-We can respect our team’s time by not overscheduling them with back-to-back meetings throughout the work day

-We can discourage continued multitasking. The human brain can really only do one thing at a time.

-We can praise and reward team members who produce the highest value work, not those employees who put in the longest hours or work the most weekends

-We can study the work being performed by our teammates and try to work with them to reduce or eliminate what we consider to be low-value work

-We can work with our colleagues to reprioritize their work or delegate to others when possible

-We can encourage our teammates to spend quiet time in their office actually thinking – thinking about what they have learned that day or week and thinking ahead about the best way to accomplish future tasks

-We can tell our teammates to use their vacation leave in restorative ways so they can return to work refreshed and renewed, less likely to be sucked into the busyness vacuum

-We can remind ourselves that as leaders, we are always on stage – our teammates are always watching what we do and what we don’t do – so role model this move away from busyness and toward meaningful productivity every day.

Your team members will notice!!!

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