Nothing improves by accident. Being a real or Intentional leader is making a conscious choice to transform the way you think. It isn’t just about creating balance but about changing your perspective about the way your approach your personal life and professional life. It’s about how you approach your responsibilities as a leader. It’s about how you use your resources of time, physical endurance and connectivity.
A recent study by Leslie Perlow, researcher and author of Sleeping With Your Smartphone, showed that executives and entrepreneurs who were in contact 24/7, literally sleeping with their smartphones increased productivity through better planning and prioritizing when they took off one full night per week. In fact, the report went on to say that the performance of the executives and their teams improved so much that mandatory disconnection for one night per week became a corporate policy throughout all divisions of their company.
Intentional Leadership Basics: If being disconnected for even five minutes gives you an anxiety attack, then you need to consider this strategy your number one priority. Being connected 24/7 electronically means you are disconnected or only partially connected to loved ones, personal relationships, your physical and your inner self. If you don’t take time to care for these aspects of your life, they will eventually implode from lack of attention.
Abandon what no longer serves you well. It is easy to say get rid of activities, attitudes or strategies that no longer serve you well, but it’s much harder to do if you don’t have a plan. Create a simple plan by making a list all of the daily activities that use up your time. Yes, list everything including personal time use. On the left side of the list assign each a number for importance. For example all number one items are very important and all number fives are of low importance. You may have several items in any given number value assignment. On the right side of the list give each item a percentage showing the amount of time each item uses.
Is there a discrepancy between the amount of time you spend doing something and its importance in your life and leadership? For example, if planning and problem solving are a high priority but you only spend one percent of your time actively engaged in it and 75 percent of your time on the phone or online, then you need to evaluate your time allocation. How can you achieve more balance? Where can you re-direct your time and efforts? Soon your new leadership strategy will take form.
Mentally nurture yourself so you can nurture others. Leadership should be as much about nurturing as leading. If you do not nurture yourself how can you nurture and encourage others to do their best, increase their performance and improve their productivity? Leadership style has changed dramatically over the last few years. The requirements no longer are do as I say not as I do, nor are they by command – they are by encouragement and empowerment. Intentional leadership is about changing your perspective and moving from an “it’s all about me or it’s all about the business strategy to it’s all about a “we” strategy.
Intentional leadership requires you taking time for yourself to think, regenerate and be empowered so you can inspire others. With instant gratification and no personal interaction skills, the workforce demands a different you – a you that is tuned into yourself, able to motivate others and motivate yourself. Nurturing yourself comes through reading uplifting books, listening to regenerating music, meditating, praying and finding a deep abiding spiritual connection. When armed with these tools you can create a nurturing atmosphere in your workplace.
Disconnect from work one day per week. There is a natural rhythm to your life and your body. The one missing link in today’s society, especially for executives, entrepreneurs and women, is planning for adequate rest. Rest is necessary for regeneration, recreation and relaxation. Disconnect from co-workers, workplaces and outside distractions to rest and reconnect with your family and your internal self.
Numerous studies show that performance improves dramatically when people actually get away from their leadership role and work-related responsibilities for a few hours both daily and weekly. Working women who are raising families often carry a double load here: to not only succeed at work but care for the majority of family responsibilities at home, which leaves her little time to recharge. Remember, nothing improves by accident – it is your choice. It is an important part of the plan to rest so you can regenerate and face a new week ahead motivated and empowered.
Create your intentional leadership plan today by making room in your schedule for downtime to recharge and you will be rewarded with improved problem solving, increased productivity and an inspiring attitude that motivates others.
Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She works with organizations that want to create an environment where employees are engaged, encouraged and involved, and with people who want to be in control, anxiety-free and confident. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage: How to Lead with Power, Productivity and Promise and Feng Shui: So Easy a Child Can Do It. She can be reached at 561-799-3443 or engagetolead.com.