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How Great Leaders Deal with the Feeling of Guilt

How Great Leaders Deal with the Feeling of Guilt

The leadership environment of today’s business world is highly demanding, fast-paced, and multifaceted. In order to survive, a great leader must possess the ability to adapt to change. There are many excellent leaders all over the world who are creating stable organizations, but you will never hear about most of these leaders because they are motivated and devoted to their jobs instead of making a name for themselves.

Great leaders are commonly well-defined by their achievements, strategies and smart decisions. But according to new research, an individual’s ability to lead may have a lot to do with how he or she deals with mistakes. Leaders are human and they make mistakes, but ultimately, they are responsible for their actions and for resolving their own guilt. For a leader, the guilt goes along with the glory; they always need to learn from it to become a better leader.

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So how do leaders deal with the guilt that could be dragging them down?

1. They assess the impact.

The purpose of this exercise is to help you bring serious thought to how your actions impact others; this will help you avoid similar issues in the future. Most of the time, people are not aware of what is causing their guilt. By assessing the impact of your choices, you will be able to examine the kinds of values and actions you were expected to embody as a leader. Later, when you are asked to describe the situation which caused you to experience guilt, you will be in a better position to respond as a leader.

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2. They learn from behavior.

To deal with guilt, you must not only think of it as a bad feeling or liability. The feeling of guilt always grabs your attention so that you can learn something from the experience. By examining and studying own behavior, you’ll be less likely do it again in the future. If you’ve unintentionally said something insulting or wrong to another person, you should (a) apologize to that person and (b) in the future, think a little more before talking.

3. They make possible amends or changes.

You should always look for a way to take action and fix the problem. While many of us are gluttons for self-punishment, enduring guilt pushes us down as we move forward in life. It’s better to make something right, to take action no matter how long it takes to clean up your mess and minimize the damage.

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4. They consider it a learning experience.

Life is full of continuous learning. Most situations in life, particularly the negative ones, are intended to teach us lessons. This feeling of guilt teaches you that as long as you keep repeating that specific action, you will end up with same effects of guilt and shame. So, learn from your mistakes. Let it become a point of reference to prevent future occurrences of the same events.

5. They share the responsibility.

When assessing responsibility, it’s important to consider the other person’s part in the situation as well. While assessing the damage caused by some specific mistake, share the responsibility with the other person involved. A stakeholder chooses to participate and recognizes the risks. This exercise isn’t about passing blame, but accepting and acknowledging that you and those responsible did the best you could with the available resources and information. Learn from it, forgive yourself and others, and let your leadership skills flourish!

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6. They accept it, but move on.

If you made some mistake or disappointed someone, you need to realize that you cannot change the past. The thing you can do is make adjustments in your behavior, if and when it’s appropriate. Try to apologize or make up for the unfortunate actions in a timely manner, but then let it go. The more you put emphasis on believing you can do something more, the more it will continue to bother you and interfere with your performance.

Featured photo credit: navixmarketplace.com via navixmarketplace.com

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Tayyab Babar

Tayyab is a PR/Marketing consultant. He writes about work, productivity and tech tips at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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