Leading a business and working with clients can be a bit like playing whack-a-mole: There’s never a finish line, new things pop up all the time, it’s never going to all get done, you will (hopefully) always have more requests than you can handle, people need your leadership (even when you don’t feel like leading), clients and employees are going to demand everything and anything, you’re going to have to keep innovating, and your team is always going to be growing, morphing, and evolving.
It's too much for any one person to handle, yet you do it -- every single day.
To help you maintain your sanity and get you to where you want to be, here are three key areas to consider with as you lead your company, your people, and your clients.
1) Intentional Self-Care
This goes first. It’s super easy to forget about this, but it will fuel you for everything else you have to do. Self-care can be tough to make time for. But it doesn’t have to be. People often create self-care regimens that they hate, that have no oomph! or energy for them, or that are big “shoulds”. And then they beat themselves up for not being able to maintain them, which just exhausts them more.
Your mission? Eliminate the regimens that don’t feel good, and find the things that do. And create space for it. What’s the smallest thing you can do for yourself to enhance your well-being? Intentional breathing, more water, stretching, moving first thing in the morning (as opposed to rushing straight to email), setting intentions for how you want to feel, yoga, walking, a little more greens on your plate ... everything counts. A little bit of pro-activeness goes a long long way, and it doesn’t have to mean that you overhaul your entire life. If you don’t make time for self-care now, you’ll have to make time for being sick later, or simply being tired now -- so this one is well worth prioritizing. Make it easy.
2) Intentional Presence
Your presence is your impact. The minute you walk into the room, you are setting the tone. A funky look, a bad mood, disbelief or judgment in the person you’re talking to, or the project you’re working on -- it all gets communicated in your presence. Before you even walk into the room, get on a call, meet with a client, give that employee feedback, or have that tough conversation with your kid, take the opportunity to reboot and create your intention. Ask yourself: How am I showing up? What’s my presence? How do I want to show up? How do I want them to experience me?
I find that awareness is about 70% of the game here. The rest is in being intentional about how you want to show up and what you’re willing to do to make sure you show up that way.
Bonus move? When you’re with colleagues or clients, be present. Phones and laptops down, attention and presence right here, right now, in this moment, with them. You’ll get more done, they’ll feel seen, and everyone wins. After all, our presence creates our impact.
3) Intentional Meetings
I spoke with someone today who had 42 meetings this week. He probably needed to be in about 20 of them, maybe. And half of those could have been more efficient. How can you change this? Make your meetings as efficient and enjoyable and worth everyone’s time as possible. Ensure the right people are in them, provide a great environment, and create good clean agreements for how you’ll work together and navigate tension or conflict. Above all else, make sure you’re all intentional about the outcomes and impact from each meeting.
Regardless of your challenges as a leader right now, pick one or all of these areas to play with and see what changes in your daily interactions. The great news is that your attitude as a leader is contagious -- you set the tone. Any shift you make will have a ripple effect on others. Make sure it is positive.
Originally published Dec 29, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017