A lot of the discussions I have with leaders and business owners in organisations is just how reactive being a leader can be during these challenging times. Portable technology available 24/7, lots of demands for new initiatives, globalisation and increased competition are just some of the challenges that we all face that push us in to the reactive space as leaders.

It is a hard place to come back from when you are continually in the reactive space as a leader. Some of the signs you may be playing in this area more than you would like include:

  • not enough time being on the business;
  • a lack of planning, prioritisation and focus on what you need to achieve to be productive rather than busy;
  • going from meeting to meeting without making progress on what really matters;
  • not spending sufficient time with your employees to develop them;
  • not spending enough time with your key stakeholders and clients to develop those deep relationships that matter;
  • you check your smartphone and emails every couple of minutes which is not just restricted to work hours;
  • your diary is full with meetings and catch-up’s but no time blocked for your big rocks. That is, there is too much focus on the pebbles i.e. the small things; and
  • very little time on training and development for yourself.

It is a challenging chasm to crawl out of when your diary, time and energy is in the reactive rather than proactive space. It is hard to muster the energy to turn this in to proactive focused leadership that drives you and your team.

So how do you do this? I believe it requires a focus on proactive daily habits as a leader that allows this shift to occur. This includes the following:

  • get good at planning. Weekly on a Sunday night or Monday morning to set up your week for success;
  • get good at reviewing your progress against this planning every day. Start the day off reviewing and recalibrating where your energy goes;
  • get clear on your priorities. What is important for you to achieve? What really matters? Put it in to a 90 day plan so the team get clear on the priorities. 
  • say no to meetings. Just because you are sent an invite for a meeting, the response sits with you. That is, you choose where you put your time so exercise it;
  • say no to others priorities if they don’t match yours. It is important to understand where your focus needs to be and what you need to achieve.

The shift you will feel as a leader and business owner is enormous. The challenge is that this is something you must maintain weekly and not do it for one week and not the next. It needs to be ingrained in to your daily practices and become a habit as a leader like it is to brush our teeth every morning!

Watch the difference in not only your energy levels and your level of effectiveness. Further, your team will enjoy the change as a leader from you as you will bring the two things that a leader should provide in terms of being prepared and being focused. These are two key attributes that require a proactive commitment in the use of your time.