Leadership comes with a great deal of responsibilities. Everything is different from the others in terms of time, the immediate solution to a need, the people involved, decision-making, and a lot more factors. If you are not a good leader, all these thoughts will simply jumble on your mind, making you crazy on what needs to be done first and how it needs to be done.
You do not want to end up in the psycho ward after accomplishing all the tasks given to you, do you? Hey, who said being a leader is a simple job? But why back out? Everything is just a matter of organizing and prioritizing.
Knowing how and what to prioritize will make your life as a leader much simpler and easier. Prioritizing is listing all the things that need to be accomplished in chronological order and doing them one by one from the most to the least important.
Each and every task your team needs to do can be strictly classified in 4 categories:
– important and urgent
– important and not urgent
– not important and urgent
– not important and not urgent
With proper prioritizing, it will be so much easier to identify what needs to be given more focus than others that are not crucial to the team’s performance. Effective leadership and management is knowing how to say “NO” to the last 2 categories, while concentrating on the first 2. Restricting yourself from doing unimportant tasks gives you more time in focusing on the important ones.
Another concept every leader should understand is the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 Rule. This simply states that typically 80% of unfocused effort generates only 20% of results. The remaining 80% of results are achieved with only 20% of the effort. Notice how much (or less) effort one can obtain by focusing (or not focusing) on certain tasks?
As a leader, you should be able to identify the things that need to be focused. An organized and systematic leader can make his people follow him without difficulty because they see him as a person with plans and preparations. He knows exactly what needs to be done, and is aware of the direction that they need to walk (or run, in some cases) towards to.
Such quality should not be limited to the leader only. His followers should practice it as well by seeing how their leader does it.
Bringing Out the Organized and Systematized You
In his book Leadership 101, John Maxwell reminds all leaders, “Remember: It’s not how hard you work; it’s how smart you work. The ability to juggle three or four high priority projects successfully is a must for every leader.” So how can you become a more organized leader?
1. Make assessments. Ask, “Is this the best use of my time right now?” With so many things you ought to do and with very little time, make every moment useful. Analyze every task with the time you have planned to do it. If it is essential and there is nothing more important you can do for that specific time, then go ahead and do it.
2. Make a to-do list. It always helps when you see everything that needs to be accomplished – when there is something to remind you what you need to do during a certain period. In your list, make sure your tasks are listed according to priorities, or you can simply rank them according to their importance (for example, 5 is the most important task and 1 is the least important task).
3. Say NO to things that do not fit your goal. Every now and then, you would have to encounter many different things, each one with a different level of priority. Those that you know are not about reaching your goals, set them aside. There are far better things to do than concentrate on something that will not really get you anywhere, or that might lead you to a different direction. Be smart. Know how and when to say NO.
4. Kick that procrastination habit out of your system. Instead of saying, “I’ll do something else now and finish my work later,” you can make it “I’ll finish my task now so I can do something else later.”
Do you have the wicked unhealthy habit? Here’s a secret. Getting rid of procrastination is a just matter of programming the mind. Help yourself by putting thoughts such as “If I didn’t get this job done by today, I might lose my job,” or “This is far more important than walking my dog / strolling the mall / etc,” in mind.
Another trick is to provide yourself a little reward as an incentive. After every important task is finished, treat yourself to a walk in the park or a cone of ice cream. This way, you will realize working can be as much fun as other things you usually do after it.
5. Love what you do, do what you love. It may sound cliché, but it’s true. When you love what you are doing, you do not need to force yourself to do it. You know exactly how to accomplish one that really gives you fun and enjoyment…right away.
Do only the things that you love. It would be difficult to perform a task that you hate. If you feel you are not satisfied with how things are going at work, maybe because it is not really for your gratification. Move on. Find your passion.