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Why Letting Go Will Make You A Great Leader

Why Letting Go Will Make You A Great Leader

If you’ve ever found yourself in charge of a company, you probably came into the position with a grand vision of how the organization would function. It’s possible that, to achieve this vision, you may have ended up micromanaging your staff. This may have made them afraid to try new ways of solving problems, only working to get the job done rather than to flourish.

As a manager, you have to let go of the “my way or the highway” mantra, and look toward the goals you have for your program or organization. As long as your staff is working toward this same goal, everyone involved will succeed.

Why should you let go?

To establish trust

When you stop micromanaging your staff, you establish a trusting relationship that goes both ways. If you’re constantly getting in the middle of your employees’ projects and looking over their shoulders, they’re more likely to let nerves take over. They’ll be more concerned with completing a task in the way they think you want it completed than completing it to the best of their abilities.

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Trust your staff’s ability to get a job done, and they’ll trust the major decisions you make for the company.

To allow your staff to develop

You don’t want your staff working under such stress that they complete their tasks like programmed robots. Humans have a distinct advantage over machines in that we learn while we work on a job, rather than just doing the job the way we’ve been programmed to do it.

As a manager, you hired your staff members not just because you saw in them the ability to get a job done, but also because you saw an opportunity for growth. Let them find their own solutions to problems, and they’ll continue to develop the skills necessary. Allow them to not just succeed, but to push their limits and go the extra mile.

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To free up time for you to make other decisions

If you’re constantly micromanaging your crew, you’ll spend way too much time on the little things, and your business will fall apart. Your staff is in place for a reason: to worry about the little things so you can think big. As the leader of a company, your job is to steer the ship toward major goals. If you leave the helm to make sure your deck hand didn’t miss a spot while mopping, you’re bound to go off course or crash the boat.

You do need to supervise your staff from time to time, but you should make sure that most of your time is spent looking after the major decisions that will affect your business in the long run.

How to let go

Fully train your staff

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You hired your staff members because you saw potential in them. However, this doesn’t mean they know everything about the business. Make sure they’ve been given time to understand the main goals of the company and their role within the team. Assess your employees’ performance over time, and give each member performance goals for the coming months and year. Along with this, offer professional development opportunities so they can strengthen their weaknesses and push their abilities even further.

When you fully equip your staff with the tools they need to succeed, you won’t have to look over their shoulder on a day-to-day basis.

Focus on the big picture

The running theme here has been to avoid the need to micromanage. If you don’t delegate tasks to your staff, or spend too much time harping on them over small mistakes, you’ll have too much on your plate to make any real progress. Take the time to list all the major things you want your company to accomplish, then decide how everyone can work as a team to accomplish the little tasks that will get you to your goals. Once you’ve delegated responsibilities, let your staff members work their magic. Allow them to be creative in their approaches, and don’t intervene unless they come to you for help — unless there are glaring issues that require immediate attention.

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Working with your staff doesn’t mean overseeing every little activity within your company. Just remember: don’t sweat the small stuff.

Featured photo credit: Flickrr via farm5.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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