Are You Stuck in the Doing?
Yesterday I had three separate conversations which really got me thinking about how leadership shows up in our choices. In the first, I found myself discussing the speed of our lifts – apparently they are too slow and people are getting frustrated having to wait around for them. In the second a colleague told me of his frustration at not being able to ‘do anything’ at the airport because his laptop battery was flat. In the third, as part of an on-going debate about safer driving, lots of frustrated leaders told me that they wouldn’t be able to ‘get everything done’ if they didn’t use their mobile phone whilst driving.
In each conversation the message was clear – I have to do more and I have to do it now. And yet every leader I speak to tells me they are struggling to find the time to stop, think, plan, strategise….or, put another way, to lead. The operator/manager mode is like gravity, continually pulling you downwards into the ‘doing’ and if you don’t consciously work against it, it will keep you there. We all have to spend some time doing, but we also need to realise there is always and there will always be one more thing to do. So you will never be done with the doing, no matter how fast the lifts, how good your laptop battery or how long your drive. Thinking you can ‘get done’ leaves us frustrated and stuck in operator/manager mode.
What if, instead, we saw a 60 second wait for a lift as a chance to check-in and reflect on how we are being – rather than doing – today? What if we saw an airport delay as an opportunity to sit and think, rather than do? What if we saw a long drive as a chance to switch off and allow our minds to still rather than churn?
Of course, if you have found the time to read this then you probably practice this already…in which case how else can you model this approach to help those around you?
Leadership nudge: do you need to consciously break free from the doing of the operator/manager? Do you need to redefine what ‘doing’ looks like for you? How might you model ‘doing nothing’ in order to liberate others to do the same?
By Martin Carter
Learn more about Martin Carter, the author of this article.