If you’re like most leaders, you want to listen well, to be the kind of person others see as safe and sane in a crazy world. You agree – in theory – that when people feel this way, they are more likely to trust, to create, to solve big problems. And you’d probably even admit that figuring out how to slow down, to be present, would be a good thing for you as a leader.
- “You don’t understand. I don’t have time to be present.”
- “You don’t understand. I don’t have time to slow down, to be still.”
- “You don’t understand. I’m. So. @#^#%$. Busy.”
Except I do understand. I tell myself those things all of the time, too. After all, hurry is a sickness of pandemic proportions in leaders. It’s pretty hard not to get infected.
But… are you sure? Are you sure you can’t help but be hurried? Have you stopped to consider the cost of hurry in your work?
- How much time do you and your colleagues spend in useless arguments because you’re competing – openly or covertly – with each other?
- How much time do you spend jockeying for position, trying to be heard, correcting misrepresentations, working back channels of influence, and defending your ideas to the death?
- How much time do you spend shouldering burdens by yourself, work that could easily be shared with others if they were just engaged with you?
The answer if you’re like most leaders I know is simple: too much time. Ironically, our failure to slow down, to still ourselves so that we can be the kind of people others want to engage, helps create the environment where we waste time. And that makes us hurry even more.
Maybe learning to slow down and get still is the most efficient thing we could do.