PART I: TOO BUSY TO WIN
In “What Keeps Leaders Up at Night”, a book I’ve been truly enjoying this week, Nicole Lipkin addresses 8 questions that most CXOs, Directors, and Managers ask themselves at some point (or perhaps often!) during their careers. While they all resonate with my personal experience, the first really got me.
“I’m a good boss. So why do I sometimes act like a bad one?”
Most leaders consider themselves good – or at least decent – bosses. Most leaders have also suffered from “good boss gone bad” (we’ll call it GBGB) syndrome, a temporary version of being a “bad boss” manifested in a stress-induced angry outburst or conversely, seeking approval and respect by taking on everyone’s work, and many other actions in between.
Busyness: Productive vs. Unproductive
One of the three overarching reasons for GBGB is “Too Busy to Win”. Taking on too much work in order to gain respect and loyalty falls into this category, among other seemingly kind actions. Creating this type of anti-productive busyness actually has the opposite effect of building frustration in yourself and subsequently, your team.
Even the highest level leaders can get stuck being “too busy to win” without falling into that trap – it’s called working IN the business not ON the business. A fine balance between the two is the key to being busy, productive, and earning that loyalty and respect.
There are Four Levels to the
“Productivity Conscious Competence Model”
Busy, Unproductive, Not Coping
Busy, Unproductive, Aware Coping is Needed
Busy, Productive, Actively Coping
Busy, Productive, Coping Internally
- Busy – Unproductive – Not Coping: Constantly doing work but not getting anything done and very stressed about it.
- Busy – Unproductive – Aware that Coping is Needed: Constantly doing work but not making progress, aware that it’s a problem that needs attention, but unsure how to fix it.
- Busy – Productive – Actively Coping: Becoming self-aware and learning how to adjust to work better with teams, delegate effectively, manage emotions around the stress, etc.
- Busy – Productive – Coping Internally: Utilizing the tools developed during stage 3 to manage busyness day to day.
At The Outstanding Company, we work with every level on the productivity spectrum. Where we shine is helping you, as a leader, get from #2 to #4. A combination of improved self-awareness and team-awareness makes an incredible difference.
Once we’ve made progress on the individual level, we look at team productivity. Using the same tools, we can quickly assess the natural tendencies and self-awareness of our individual employees and subsequently the team dynamics.
The AH-HA! moments that individuals, managers, co-workers have when we produced a Team Workstyles report are fun to see. We can quickly identify, in many cases, why an individual is not reaching their highest potential, and work to help them. We can identify what qualities and attributes are missing from a team and hire to fill the gap.
Managing productivity in ourselves and our teams should be unique to the individual.
For example, this person thrives in a fast-paced environment where they bounce ideas off co-workers and have an open door policy because they process half-baked thoughts out loud. This person can shift priorities in a heartbeat and pick right up where they left off after interruption.
However, this person is more analytical and needs a steady workday. They’ll do research and process ideas internally until they come up with the best answer before they’re comfortable sharing. They prefer an environment where there are fewer interruptions because once they’ve lost momentum, it takes a bit to get it back.
Both of these people can be awesome workers, they just have different productivity needs. As a CEO, Director, Manager, etc., you can make a world of difference for yourself and teams, just by becoming aware of it.
Knowing these things also makes a world of difference in hiring.
If you need someone who does not have coworkers nearby and whose job productivity requires head-down, consistent work for long periods of time, the first person is not going to work out for very long. You may think the people applying for this job wouldn’t do so if they were the top graph but it happens all the time – a person has the skills and education to do the job but it’s not an environment or work style they are wired for. They will not work out in the long run without substantial stretching, and therefore emotional stress, to adjust to the environment.
Productivity is the most important output in your business. Engagement leads to productivity. Self-awareness and team awareness leads to engagement.
Take the 4 minute PI assessment to learn where you fall and how we use these tools to go much deeper!