Busy is the new successful, or at least it was before the pandemic. People wore busy like a badge of honour, like it was something to be proud of. I happen to disagree with that as a mantra, but for lots of us, busy feels like the only option. Time is finite, and modern life requires a lot of it, which this small shift might seem impossible at first…but stick with me. It’s a shift worth making.
Jane Helbrecht is a Leadership Trainer with Acuity HR Solutions, but she’s also smart as a whip, radiates joy and enthusiasm, rocks a bold lip flawlessly, and has an unabashed love of karaoke that probably merits its own post (“sing like EVERYONE is listening, you guys” – Jane Helbrecht, probably). Jane also just launched a new project: @bigworkenergy. After you read her wisdom here, I hope you’ll follow her there.
Jane didn’t take long to think up a shift because she’s a GOD DAMN PRO who knows what she’s talking about. And it has to do with time. “No one ever questions having to spend two hours a week reviewing financials,” she says. “No one ever questions having a weekly marketing meeting. So tell me how much time you’re spending on being a leader every week.”
Before you think this doesn’t apply to you, let me assure you that leadership takes many forms. You don’t have to have “Manager” in your title to be a leader. You have to work with others and have a desire to help out by supporting them, encouraging them and sharing your knowledge with them.
Jane’s shift is simple: spend 30 minutes each week thinking about your team. Let’s be clear: you’re not spending this time in meetings, talking things out, you’re spending this time alone, focusing on the people you support. What’s working with Denise in Marketing? She’s a superstar, so how can you make her feel valued? What’s not working with Alex in Accounting? He doesn't get along with his supervisor and what you've tried so far isn't helping.
“You spend a lot of time working with your team, so make sure you spend time working on your team,” Jane says. “This is about being intentional versus being reactive. What can you get ahead of instead of dealing with when it happens?”
Leadership takes time; Jane knows that. But it’s time well spent. “I’d argue that leadership is the one thing that you can’t delegate,” she explains. “You have to make time for your people goals, just like you make time for your financial goals. And these 30 minutes every week to pause and reflect is how it starts.”
I asked Jane what a workplace with good leadership looks like. She says it’s pretty simple: there are fewer explosions (metaphorically-speaking, but I have to assume physically-speaking, as well, if that’s a possibility), and less people quitting. People who want to be there because they feel like someone has their back. In short, staff are engaged and happy.
small//shift: Take 30 minutes to lead. Stop. Reflect. Plan. For 30 minutes, every week. Think about who you’re leading, what makes them tick, and what you can do to help. Any good leader will tell you they’re nothing without their team so if you’re leading, put your money where your mouth is. Or, in this case, put your time where it matters most.