Here is one of those great little maxims that I heard many years ago and I solemnly avowed and affirmed that I would live by it until my dying days.
But, as I look back on it and examine how well I adhered to that little maxim . . . It seems like not so much.
The principle expressed in this pithy little statement is this.
When presented with a choice, a document, a task or a decision – handle it immediately in one of the following manners.
- Do it! — That sounds simple enough. But procrastination is something that comes naturally to the human species. This is especially true for those choices or tasks that have particularly unpleasant undertones.
- Ditch it! — This also sounds simple. But many of us suffer from bouts of indecision. We often times cannot make up our minds that this just isn’t important to the overall goals and therefore should be jettisoned for the more important tasks.
- Delegate it! — Another simple sounding thing. For those of us who have a staff that we can actually delegate something to, we often choose to handle the task ourselves.
So, what are the leadership implications of this little phrase?
- Do it! — Leaders don’t shy away from a task because it is difficult or unpleasant. And leadership does not place us above the unpleasant tasks of life. A real leader will get in there with the folks on their team and do it right along with them. A real leader will not shirk their duty. Instead, they will do what needs to be done and they will do it professionally and with integrity.
- Ditch it! — Leaders know how to prioritize the things that come their way. And leadership involves the constant evaluation and re-evaluation of the current situation to see what rises or falls in priority. A real leader knows that they can’t do everything. And a real leader knows what to push aside for the greater good of the organization.
- Delegate it! — Here is perhaps the greatest trap that leaders fall into. Billy long recently wrote about the importance of grooming other leaders to take over for you some day. This is one of the most important readers that real leaders are not afraid to delegate to their staff. And, just as noted above, some things can’t be “ditched”, but at the same time can’t be done by you. Those then must be delegated. It will free you up to pursue higher value tasks and it will create confidence and leadership growth opportunities for those around you.
Stop right now if you can. Take a look at your task list for today. What items on that list do you need to Do, Ditch or Delegate?
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