This post is for the person that has tired of the hustle and bustle of the fast-paced, overachieving, way of leadership. This is for the leader who believes that slowing down allows them to have a deeper impact. The one who wants a more intentional pace instead of the chaotic and disorganized pace of the past.
We live in a get-things-done-now type of society. A world that values efficiency over intentionality. Just because we live in this type of world doesn’t mean we have to surrender to the pace around us all the time. Sometimes we may want or need to slow down.
If slowing down the pace is a leadership goal for you, here are a few places to start.
- Be honest with yourself about where you work and how you work best.
If you can’t face reality, things will remain hard in areas that could soften. Tell the truth about what you want and what you’re willing to put up with to get it at your current organization.
- Include your long-term professional goals in your work plan.
Being aligned with your goals will keep you motivated and clear which can contribute to a less frenzied work pace. This also makes sure you’re not putting all your time into making your supervisor look good by saving a little energy/time to grow as a leader.
- Schedule regular time off at the beginning of the year. Don’t be the person left to do two jobs because your colleague planned for their leave but you didn’t plan for it too. [read that again] Regular breaks throughout the year prevent burnout and slow down the hectic pace many leaders get trapped in.
- Have a 15min staff meeting with yourself at the beginning and end of your week.
This is a great place to think about how you will track your task and goal/progress for the week. Managing tasks helps you stay on top of things and also slows your pace enough for you to see what went well and what got away from you. This also helps you set up the upcoming week to be at the pace you desire.
- Create buffers between meetings.
Buffers give you time to step away from your desk, jot down any notes for meeting follow-up, take bio breaks, nourish your body, etc. The buffers are key to preserving yourself in the work. Burnout serves no one and is avoidable, even when we tell ourselves it isn’t.
- Free up some time by aligning committee work to your individual work plan or team plan.
A lot of committees are sucking time and not adding value to your goals. Some are political moves that you feel pressured to make, but others could roll off your plate if you made a strategic case for the limited value they bring. Ditch the committees you can and put boundaries around the ones you can’t.
- Start having strategy meetings before meetings.
Meetings before meetings help you identify key places to be more collaborative, improve processes, and walk through the agenda. Meetings before the meetings provide ample time to review the agenda, prep for any presentation, and jotting down ideas/questions. Setting this time aside is especially helpful for those who need more processing time or feel overhwelmed being asked to respond to discussions on the spot.
- Schedule weekly vision & strategy time where your brain has time to percolate on trends, themes, and opportunities.
Unlike your weekly staff meeting, this time is not focused on tasks. Tools like Jamboard, Miro, or Mural – or just grab some stickies – and start to categorize and organize your tasks. Where is there overlap? What are you all overlooking in your rush to move quickly? What needs to be delated or postponed?
- Don’t co-sign team members engaging in unhealthy work culture. Celebrating problematic ways of working will only make it more difficult for things to change. Even if you can’t openly or safely fight against the pace or volume of work, you don’t have to applaud it. Sometimes our silence says more than our words.
- Make an exit plan. If a slower, more intentional work pace is not possible where you are then it’s time to get clear on the type of work environment you want and what it will take to get it.
As you can see, I believe the way to get to more impactful and intentional leadership is to slow down the pace enough to think, startegize, and plan. Want to talk about how coaching can help you get there? Let’s chat!