We see this all the time: Top tips from Musk, Bezos, etc. But how does the modern leader work this into their real-life?
This article is inspiring… and it might as well be fantasy. Why? As a leader within a company it’s unlikely you have the ability to dictate how all meetings are run. It’s not if you can “decide” to run all meetings via google docs. walk out on a meeting, or make a decision quickly. Unless you’re the CEO, your choices are limited.
So how do you take this leadership advice and use it within the confines of real life?
- Keep meetings focused on an objective or two (I suggest no more than three objectives, ideally one to two). Explain in the meeting invite what this objective is, what are the facts, discussion points, and current impediments are, and what you expect from each of the invitees. Don’t invite people that cannot contribute to the solution. If you have to invite onlookers… and I know some of us do for good as well as stupid reasons… state that they’re invite to participate as a silent observer only and why you’ve invited them (compliance, audit, stupid political reason… just kidding!)
- Keep meetings to 30 minutes max… 15 minutes are even better. Meetings are reserved for face-to-face, real-time, needs. Try to decide and educate as much as possible with emails/documents (writing), or even phone calls first.
- Distinguish a meeting from a working session. Working sessions, like brainstorming ideas, have a different objective. Ensure you, and your teams, know the difference. Ensure working sessions also set up their focus in advance. What are you trying to solve or create, what do you know so far, known unknowns, etc. The more people know in advance the more productive they’ll be during the session.
- If you believe you’re not needed in a meeting or on a call, express respect and appreciation for the invite while stating politely that you’ll excuse yourself. It’s okay to say ” Thanks for the invitation, however I’m not the best participant. Perhaps you invite Jane?”, or “We’ve moved into some interesting topics now, and topics I’m not an expert in. I’ll let you discuss without my interference”. The intent is to be respectful while respecting your own time and needs.
- Do make decisions quickly; but understand most people are risk adverse. I see this in all… yes, all… the leaders I coach. Either they, or someone else making decisions, are very risk adverse. The best way to manage risk is with factual risk management techniques. However, this doesn’t always solve the problem of the leader who covers their ass. Some people are less emotionally resilient and, thus, more risk adverse. It’s unfortunate when I find them in executive level positions. If this is you… get some coaching and learn how to manage your emotional responses, your grit, and how to manage risk. You will become a leader who is not only productive and successful, but happy and secure. If you work with someone like this, just stick to the facts and manage the risks. You’ll likely not change their mind, but you’ll be exercising what you can influence in the most profession and emotionally resilient way.
- Hold yourself up to being your best, being accountable, and continuing to grow. A leader is only at her/his best when they’re full accountable and responsible role models.
I’ve had phenomenal executives I’ve worked with, and disappointing ones. No one is perfect, but those who make an effort to grow, to improve, have the greatest respect. They make their lives fulfilling, happy, productive, successful. Their social and personal lives benefit equally. Take your leadership position seriously. Many people depend on you doing your best.
You have the ability to better yourself, your life, your circumstances… start now. Need some coaching? Reach out and schedule a free 15 minute consultation. Many employers pay for wellness and leadership coaching from licensed and certified coaches. Ask your HR department about that today.