I am still learning that my schedule is far less about what I want to get done and far more important about who I want to become. – Bill Hybels
A story is told about the great 19th-century naturalist and Harvard professor Louis Agassiz who was once approached by the emissary of a learned society and invited to address its members. Agassiz declined the invitation, saying that lectures of this kind took up too much time that should be devoted to research and writing. The man persisted, saying that the society was prepared to pay handsomely for the lecture. "That's no inducement to me," Agassiz replied, "I can't afford to waste my time making money."
Finding the rhythm of your leadership is an important part of your development as a leader. Your leadership rhythm sets the tone and gives priority to every other aspect of your life both personally and professionally.
With so many demands placed upon you as a leader it’s worth taking into consideration your leadership rhythms and why they matter. I have identified four that are worth a closer look.
The rhythm of your time
Time is the most precious commodity you have as a leader. The decisions you make regarding your time are the most important ones you make. You are in charge of your time and schedule. It’s a given that you are busy and have many demands placed upon you for things over and above your already hectic schedule. But, when was the last time, if ever, you gave thought to the opening quote?
Many of us for far too long have looked at what we need to get done verses who we want to become. Growing into the person we want to become begins when we reclaim our schedules and put our priorities in order. As a leader everything will rise and fall on the rhythm of your time.
The rhythm of your work
The rhythm of your work is essential to your effectiveness as a leader. By now you know the rhythm that works best for you. For some people maximum productivity is early in the morning. For others it’s later in the day or in the evening. Regardless of when that time is, make the most of it. When you capitalize on your work rhythm you will be at the top of your game.
Here’s the rub – rhythms vary from person to person so in a collaborative environment where teamwork is essential it can be a juggling act. As a leader try not interrupt the rhythms of your people and their best times of productivity with rhythm-killing meetings and interruptions. The key here is to know your work rhythms and that of your people. It will help you to establish your priorities and maximizes team performance.
The rhythm of personal growth
Your growth and development as a leader is essential to your effectiveness today and will improve the quality of your leadership tomorrow. Are you setting aside time for your personal growth and development? Without a rhythm of learning and a commitment to personal growth you will begin to lose your edge as a leader. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other,” said John F. Kennedy. He was right.
Now more than ever there are a variety of personal growth avenues to choose from. In addition to inspiring leadership books- you can also take advantage of mastermind groups, webinars, and support groups such as found on LinkedIn. There is no shortage of available resources but you must find the rhythm that works for you.
The rhythm of your health
Your longevity as a leader is tied to the habits and rhythms of your health – physically, mentally, and spiritually. If your rhythm here is out of whack it will have an impact on the other areas already covered.
Your life in leadership is hectic. I get it. But when you develop proper rhythms in your diet you will feel better and have more energy and will be more productive. When you develop rhythms for rest and relaxation you will reduce your stress and be a much more pleasant person to be around. When you are connected spiritually you will be at peace.
Rhythms are your anchors as a leader. Develop your rhythms- nurture them, and most of all protect them. No one else can do it for you.
© 2014 Doug Dickerson