How Great Leaders Always Have Enough Time

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By Jas Singh

The one thing that is constant for all of us is time.

Regardless of our age, location or experience we all have 24 hours in a day.

Yet one of the most common complaints for most people is lack of time. “If only I had more time” I hear weekly, “then I could always do the things I want to do”. Spend more time in the gym. Taking that training course you’ve always wanted to do. Making sure you are investing your savings properly.

And so in order to try and make up for this scarcity of time, what do most of us do? That’s right, we try and work harder. 12, 14 even 18 hours a day, across the week and even into weekends. Attempting to cram endless tasks into our personal schedules. It’s no wonder stress related issues are increasing more than ever in the workplace.

However in nearly ten years as a hiring specialist I’ve noticed something ironic when it comes to the highest achieving leaders. Something you wouldn’t expect from those who are busier than most. Who run bigger businesses, have more responsibilities and whose workload is extensive.

The greatest leaders always have enough time.

They never complain about the clock running too fast.

They always seem to have things under control, and time to address all important issues.

So how do they do it?

Here are some ways great leaders always have enough time.

 

They delegate

The biggest reason why most of us seem to always run out of time and become overwhelmed is simply because we try and and control too much. The best leaders are those who can delegate to the right people and let go – once they’ve released the responsibility to someone else they forget about the task and move on.

Nowadays with the stakes so high, even the most busiest leaders are constantly peering over shoulders to monitor progress. Aside from putting off co-workers, it’s the fastest way to losing sanity and to burnout.

But delegation doesn’t simply mean passing the buck. On the contrary, top leaders still consider mistakes and under-performance on behalf of their staff as if they themselves have under-performed.

You see proper leadership means the ability to delegate and motivate staff beforehand. It means giving credit to others, but taking responsibility for mistakes.

Leadership is delegation.

They only focus on a few issues

A well known CEO of world famous SaaS company I work with believes his entire success is based on one key principle.

As he says himself, “I only focus on three issues each year. Sometimes even less. Never any more.”

Throughout the entire year, during meetings, presentations and strategy reviews he is literally collating together all the possible issues that need addressing in the business. Unsurprisingly these are endless. Then at the beginning of each year he selects three initiatives that he wants completed by the end of the year and for which he is willing to take sole responsibility for.

In the last 10 years his company has grown to nearly a billion dollar in revenues and owns over 40% of their market.

The art to successful time management is focus. In his award winning book “Focus”, Daniel Goleman even gives numerous examples of how the highest achieving leaders are usually those who have brutally simplistic and almost narrow goals.

But it’s the only route to mastery.

Rather than try and fix everything at once, great leaders select one aspect to master at a time.

They try and make fast decisions 

Decisions shape our destiny.

The success in our careers, the strength of our relationships even the lives we live are a direct reflection of the quality of our decisions.

Better decisions equal better results.

So this must mean that the highest achievers take more time to better decisions right? They must consider all possibilities in detail before deciding right?

Wrong.

Many studies have proven that achievers actually have the ability to make quick and fast decisions. Decision making is a skill that gets better with practice and is even a trait of certain types of people such as entrepreneurs.

You see most of us fall into the habit of slow decision making whilst we are children and at school. We are taught not to “rush” and “make errors” in the final exams or on the crucial homework. So we become defensive. This cautious approach becomes ingrained in our nervous systems.

There is no way any of us can predict the future. Especially in the highly competitive and changing world of business. The only thing that works is to act. Stand still and you will be shot.

One of the greatest decision makers I know is a trader in The City who I went to university with and who manages over $5 billion in assets for one of the largest funds in the world.

I asked him once what the secret to his success was.

“It’s simple Jas” he once told me. “The market either goes up or down. If I’m wrong I just go the other way as fast as possible”.

Pretty simple philosophy, yet only applied by a select few.

Rather than over analysing, leaders make more decisions than most of us – allowing them more time to put right mistakes as well as hone the “inner” decision making power we all have.

Conclusion

Excuses make us all feel better.

And not having enough time is an easy one – most people will agree and sympathise with us. Off course we believe you would have set up that dream business if you had more time. So would have we.

But not having enough time is never an excuse. In fact, bizarrely, it’s the only once thing that is constant for everyone on this planet.

When the time comes to look back at your life, you’ll only want to know whether you gave it your best shot.

And ironically you’ll probably wish you had – after all look at all that time you had…

Are you going to take control of your time?

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