Check out my #CHECKOUTlist: 10 things stressed leaders should stop now*

Recently I referred to a great TED talk about strategic quitting ( and many if you liked it. Here’s one about operative quitting 🙂

Some things really matter. Get rid of the rest.

Take the crisis as a chance to get rid of stuff that does not help you, that wastes time and that uses too much attention. Instead focus on things that are important and / or urgent.

A: Important and Urgent: Do it immediately, at least delegate it now. Address it to the proper stakeholders, set deadlines, actively look for obstacles, make sure it can be done. Make your priority clear to everybody: „This is A, folks“

B: Important but not now: Delegate it to someone to prove she’s ready for action in the field of conceptual design / planning. And who is ready to be coached in stakeholder and expectation management.

C: Urgent but not important: Delegate it to someone to prove he is ready for action and stress. And has an eye for details.

D: Neither important nor urgent: Act, instead of ignoring it just because it is D. Delegate it to someone to prove she is ready for saying no to others. Or she could as well negotiate alternatives (could it be done automatically, with low quality, with less resources, …). Or she may try to find someone else who can solve the D-issues without you being bothered anymore.

E: Here’s reality – you don’t know! Maybe it becomes more important tomorrow, maybe it is urgent but I don’t see it, … you can only rely on an open eye, good network and active research, therefore you need time, you can’t run on 110% taking care for A, B, C and D.

Here’s how to free up time if you’re on 110% – the 10 things to do:

  1. Stop doing all the little things that are below your level of seniority. Delegate more, and more, and even more. Let your diects grow. Fitness coaches know: Beginners get from 5 situps to 50 in no time. Don’t waste this power boost that your directs could experience as well. Yes, your directs will do things differently than you. Yes they will make mistakes and learn from them (like you did). Try to over-delegate a little and be ready to be surprised that things work pretty well.
  2. – 10. That’s it!

The wonderland of simple tasks

I am sure that many of you recover from the chaos of uncertainty and complexity in their leadership positions by regularly escaping into the wonderland of simple tasks. Don’t do that!

This the dark side of leadership:

  • You do simple stuff to „clear your mind“ or
  • You engage in some less difficult negotiations with a customer „because that gives me a chance to relax a little“ or
  • You check emails that seemed of very low priority yesterday already, „but let me see what’s in there…“ or
  • You talk to everybody a LOT because „it is important to keep up the good team spirit“…

All this prevents your team from growing. They deserve the chance to grow by doing tasks you do. They might seem simple for you, for them they are training. Let them decide if your 150 mails are of importance, forward them. Let them negotiate, send them. Let them keep up the team spirit by fostering self organisation and team culture themselves.

Train them and challenge them – and you will get a team that supports you, and you can delegate more and more. And then you will be free to decide where to invest your own time & energy.

* Sorry for using this click-baity headline 😉

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