Stephen Covey says you lead people and manage processes.
I agree with that.
If you’re in a leadership position, the implications are you want to spend as little time managing processes as possible, because your most effective and high-leverage role is leading the ones who are supposed to be managing.
Think of it this way: If you’re the leader of Starbucks, the highest leverage work you can do is getting your top talent to produce results. Not spending your time planning how to reduce the number of steps involved in making a caramel vanilla skinny sugar-free latte. That’s why you hired everyone else.
One simple way of auditing your own leadership leverage is to estimate the percentage of time in an average week that you spend managing processes instead of people.
If that’s more than 25% consider how might reduce that. One way is to list all the process management things you do, and then put them into three buckets:
1. Things you could delegate to someone else.
2. Things you could stop doing entirely without delegating them.
3. Things you enjoy doing and therefore will keep.
Set a timeline for the delegation of items in #1, and stop doing the items in #2 as soon as possible.
Then, make sure you don’t let the items in #3 expand to fill the space you created by delegating and stopping other tasks. The best way to keep #3 items under control is to schedule them every week at the same time and on the same day.
So, let’s say that despite the fact someone else should probably do it, you happen to enjoy writing the blog posts for your company. It takes you 5% of your 50-hour week. You schedule that 2.5 hours for Thursday mornings from 8-10:30 and resist the urge to do it at any other time.
With the time you get back by reducing your process management responsibilities, look your own goals and decide where you can grow your business by spending more time encouraging and motivating others.
You may be delighted at how much more productive you are, and how much your increased leverage with others increases how much everyone can do.