I was recently interviewing for a leadership position within my company.
One question I always ask is for the interviewee to describe a leader who they responded well to in the past, as well as a type of leader they did not respond to well. The follow-up question to their response is: Is there anything you could have done differently?
The person that I was interviewing here recently had great answers to both questions, but there was one line that stuck out in his answer:
If everyone worked like me today, did we move forward?
Lead By Example
Imagine if you just kind of went through the motions for a couple of hours today, and then everybody in your organization did the same thing. Let’s say you have a small organization – you and one other person. If you both mailed in two hours, that’s four hours of productivity that’s completely gone. As you scale in size, those numbers continue to add up.
We hear it all the time: lead by example. As a leader, take the time to reflect on your day:
Was I lazy during any part of the day? Did I take some of the day off or go through the motions?
Or did I go the extra mile the entire day?
Keep Moving Forward
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to keep yourself, and everyone on your team, moving forward. Here are three ways to check in and ensure daily growth:
1. Remove Distractions
One of the biggest obstacles we face is procrastination. It doesn’t matter if it’s a project, an activity, or just something we have to do that day, taking on challenges head-on and overcoming them will help you feel more satisfied.
There are tempting distractions all around us – from social media to off-topic conversations with colleagues. Rather than getting sucked in and losing focus, be diligent in your schedulings. Set a time limit for how long you will work on any given project, and stick to the topic at hand.
2. Know Your Limits
Knowing your limits is about being honest with yourself when it comes to what tasks will be challenging and require more effort than normal from you.
Be intentional with those types of tasks by either delegating them, making sure they don’t interfere with other priorities, or setting aside extra time outside of regular working hours so that you have enough bandwidth and energy to complete the job effectively without sacrificing quality elsewhere during the day.
3. Recognize Your Impact
As a leader, people are watching your actions and listening to what you say. What is the quality of your work every day?
It reminds me of what Kobe Bryant said about how he used to approach every single day. Kobe attributed his success, and the reason he was such a great NBA Hall of Famer, to his ability to practice harder than every single other player every single day. He just kept doing that year after year after year after year.
So think about that today. If everyone around you – everybody you’re trying to impact – works like you today, are you going to move forward?