Save Hours by Leading One at a Time
4.4 minute read
Time is our most valuable tool and people are the most precious resource. Yet somehow, as leaders, we struggle to find the right balance. Inboxes are overflowing, and days are getting slightly longer as we work to cram in yet one more zoom meeting.
When there is a lack of certainty, our first instinct is to create it. That is important. However, the way you solve for uncertainty may not be working. As a rule, most leaders when faced with leading through change, create a roadmap that includes a company-wide meeting. That is followed up by a series of cascading team meetings. Over time, meetings become the “go-to” solution for getting a multitude of points across.
Before you know it, your calendar is like a solid block of cheddar cheese instead of a nice Swiss with holes when it comes to time for deep thinking.
When I was an SVP, leading teams of teams, I recall weeks on end where my only time for a break was when I walked to the bathroom. When my phone started to travel with me, I knew I was in trouble! Meeting overwhelm is not sustainable or wise.
According to a Harvard Business study,62% of Senior Managers felt that meetings kept them from accomplishing their work while 64% said that meetings came at the expense of their deep thinking.
A one-on-one meeting is different. It's like deep thinking with a partner.
“At face value, one-on-one meetings take more time.
However, when you consider the cost of inaction, lack of engagement,
and even resistance, the benefits begin to outweigh the costs.
And those costs have become greater since the pandemic.”
According to the 2021 State of the Global Workforce study, only 20% of employees are engaged, and 70% of them state that their relationship with their manager is the deciding factor of engagement.
Leading one at a time takes longer at the outset, but the benefits can be life-changing. Here are a few tips for creating interactions that make a difference.
Invest at least ½ day per week planning time for every person you meet with.
What is the purpose of the meeting? Why does this meeting exist?
What is the process for the meeting? What is the agenda?
What is the payoff? What will change because of the meeting?
Co-create an agenda for the meeting. It's not yours, or mine, it is "our" meeting.
Take notes and own the accountability. It is very powerful when you reference a key point from your last meeting. Make it a habit to jot down wins, roadblocks, and ongoing issues after every meeting.
Confirm your intention to have a worthwhile conversation with a helpful opening question. According to Coaching expert, Michael Banger-Stanier-, “What’s on your mind?” is a powerful opener that quickly leads to a meaningful conversation. It suggests that nothing is more important than your state of well-being.
Be personally relevant. “How was your weekend?” is a personal. “How is your home office set up working for you” is personally relevant.
Acknowledge the other persons’ wins! Take time between meetings to look for evidence that they are making progress.
Empower their ideas within the rest of the team, and within the organization.
Encourage peer-to-peer recognition. Your words of support privately and publicly carry weight, especially when people are seen as helping the team win.
Enjoy the journey!
PS I am doing research for my next book, Becoming Us: Leading High Performance Among Teams. If you are an executive, senior leader, or business owner with stories to share that would help others on their leadership journey, I NEED YOU! :-)
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