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Home » Blog » Time Management- A Critical Tenet of Leadership Coaching

Time waits for nobody and leaders are not an exception. With numerous responsibilities, decisions, team demands, and client queries; effective time management is essential to lead with clarity, focus, and productivity. It is a superpower that enables the leader to utilise the most precious resource at his/her disposal- time. However, today’s hive erroneously defines time management as being able to fit more tasks into your day. It was never about that! Time management means dedicating your time to the most impactful and fulfilling endeavours. Most leadership coaches will say that everybody has the same 24 hours in their day. For a successful leader, this doesn’t necessarily translate to having to wake up at 3 AM every day to get more working hours. It does however require the leader to be ruthless with their available time. As much as prioritising tasks becomes important, cutting out the unnecessary ones also becomes equally significant.  As one gradually learns to manage time, they are empowered with purpose, efficiency, and focus, thus becoming able to drive their teams and organisations towards unprecedented success.

Tips and tricks don’t guarantee success though. If simple hacks really were the solution, each and every single person would be a time management guru in their own right. Present-day executive coaches delve into deeper depths to bring out meaningful transformation. Time management isn’t really about time, it is about the human psyche and behavioural traits. From our childhood, we often have some habits and practices so deeply ingrained into us that it becomes a part of the subconscious. Thus, we develop a different perspective of seeing the same thing. Time management then, isn’t about a new author writing the same story, it is about us rewriting our own stories.

Detailed below are the five main psychological traits that coaches look to work upon in leaders in order to better their time management-

  • The art of saying ‘NO’- The fear of saying no and setting boundaries often hangs over us like a dark cloud. Two simple letters, but they carry the enormous weight of strained relationships, miscommunication, an overlooked promotion, or worse- a one-way ticket out of the door in a market that is always unstable and where layoffs are too close for comfort. True leadership, however, means taking ownership of the job role. Each leader must face the honest truth about their workload and the impact that it has on their team, their life, and well-being. It is a must to set clear expectations and gracefully decline tasks that might prove to be overwhelming. A sustainable business environment and a healthy work-life balance are always a win-win for the leader.
  • The art of delegating tasks- Undoubtedly, leadership is a reward for excellent individual capability. Exceptional skills as individual contributors makes for a great team member but not an efficient leader. Such a leader must learn to relinquish control and trust others to handle crucial aspects of the project. Failure to do so will only overwhelm the individual with the ‘I can do it all’ mentality. The job of a leader is to use their own empowered mindset to help empower others. Not only does this approach guarantee the professional development of the rest of the team, it also takes away a significant chunk off the leader’s plate.
  • The art of controlling your workflow- The assumption that ‘my work is not under my control’ is a dangerous one. It leads a person to think that they must do anything and everything that turns up on their plate as somebody must have assigned it to them. They may find themselves overwhelmed by the demands of the role and various stakeholders, each wanting to get more than their money’s worth. However, a leader realises that if they are impacted by the results, they have the power to influence the process. They assertively communicate and let higher-ups know of realistic timelines, renegotiate priorities, and express their needs. This approach opens up the path for a constructive dialogue, easing up the pressure on them.
  • The art of prioritising the self- Validation is an addictive drug and all of us are prey to it. The tendency to prioritize others’ expectations over our own needs is a common narrative that many of us internalize, believing that we must go above and beyond to gain the approval and likability of those around us. But this nobility is often foolish and the reason for a leader’s stress. This also involves a leader taking on more than they should, but this time it is not a problem of delegation but of receiving disguised appreciation from the upper hierarchy. Learn to balance personal goals and the broader business objective. Self-care is not selfish, it is essential to be a good leader; for that is the example that you set forth for your own team. By filling our own cups, we can pour out for others in a more sustainable and impactful way.
  • The art of focussing on the outcome- Ours is a time of glorifying hustle culture. Yes, there is no substitute for hard work, but to do it for show seems to be our culture. Does he who work hard, work the longest? Sadly, yes. They also tend to get greater social recognition. However, a leader must transcend these obligations. The ability to work tirelessly must be guided by the vision for meaningful results and impact. By directing attention to the outcomes, a leader is able to prioritise tasks that contribute directly to that outcome, and also able to create breathing space for themselves.

Thus, leadership coaching works towards a future where a leader’s time aligns with their values, creates impact, and helps them achieve holistic fulfilment.

Indeed, perfectly balanced, as it should be.

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