Does Your Schedule Reflect That of a Leader?

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By: Holly Priestner | Director of Talent Acquisition and Engagement

Who can identify with this scenario? 

You are the leader. You have built something great. You are surrounded by your team members who you truly intend to grow. After all, you built your business or got into leadership because your goal was to help others grow to their fullest potential. Your heart is there…

Business is booming. You are on the proverbial success treadmill and it is moving FAST. With that success comes more opportunity and it is exciting. 

It’s Wednesday, the day that you have allocated to do your one-on-ones with your team members. Going back to your intention, you intend for these sessions to be meaningful coaching conversations to help your team members develop as professionals, as leaders, as people. The reality is, as each person walks in, you are 100% winging it. You have not prepped. You have no notes. You might have some questions about the status of projects. If there is some sort of tracking or accountability tool, you are glancing at it as they hand it to you when they walk in or searching for it on Google Drive as they sit down. 

Fast forward, it is the end of the day. You made it through work. You got to the kids’ open house night at school on time. You created a fun family pizza night out. You scrambled to get everyone to bed on time. You sit down to respond to emails which takes longer than expected. You look up and you are exhausted. You are tired but you are not ready to sleep. You need a mindshift and glance at the leadership book on your nightstand which at this point seems daunting. So instead, you decide to watch Cheer on Netflix for the tenth time. Let’s be real, who doesn’t need a little Jerry “mat talk” at the end of a long day?!? Plus, there are leadership and hard work lessons in the show. 

At this point, you have missed your opportunity to grow your leadership skills for that day. 

Let’s be honest. We have all lived our own version of this vision. As leaders, we must take a step back and ask ourselves, do our actions reflect those as a true leader? And, more importantly, are we living a schedule that supports our ability to be an effective leader?

In my experience, any time that someone who is truly committed is off of goal or behind, it comes down to two challenges: schedule and lack of systems. If the scenario above resonates with you, if you are off on your goal to be the best leader you can be, what is missing — a schedule or a system? 

We often hear, “Success is simple, not easy.” That concept applies here. Below are two simple concepts that can lead to tremendous leadership success. 

Timeblock for Leadership

You know how to timeblock. You either are not doing it OR there are important pieces that are missing such as preparing to be a good leader. 

  • Allocate time to prepare for your one-on-ones. 

  • Build in time for your leadership growth — reading, training, podcasts. You don’t want your talent to see you as a ceiling. You want them to see you as a leader worth following. 

  • Treat these timeblocks as you do any other meeting meaning — don’t move them! They are critically important to the growth and retention of your talent.

  • Set a standing time for one-on-ones and respect that schedule. You are developing leaders who have big goals and responsibilities. Many times, they also have direct reports who require one-on-ones, cross departmental meetings, appointments with clients and dedicated project time. There is a ripple effect when leaders deviate from set meeting times that can damage both productivity and morale.

Create a System for Preparation

You might be asking, how do I prepare for a one-on-one? There is a system for this regardless of industry. 

  • Use goal setting or business planning tools that directly tie to accountability tools. If you do not have tools in place, visit The ONE Thing’s website. Keep it simple and use the GPS for goal setting and business planning then the 411 for accountability. 

  • If your team is in sales, implement daily trackers that show activity and also allow you to identify gaps in skill. For example, if conversion rates are low, you can easily see trends that point to where team members might need more training or coaching. 

  • Set a day and time of the week where your team members provide you with the information and the time to prepare for their one-on-one. 

    • Ask them to electronically share their accountability tools or trackers.

    • In the same email message they should include:

      • FYI’s 

      • Questions they have for you

      • Challenges they are facing

Keep it simple and keep it in your calendar. By creating a schedule that allows you to be the BEST leader you can be, you will retain the BEST talent there is!