5 Signs That You’re So Busy Doing That You Don’t See What Needs To Be Done

Posted 06.13.2011

One of the things I do on a regular basis is speak to groups of new and high potential executives about what they can do to succeed in bigger jobs. In the run-up to those sessions, I often ask them to complete a short self-assessment on how they think they stack up on some of the leadership behaviors outlined in The Next Level.

The average self assessment scores tell a pretty interesting story. The headline?

Lots of leaders are so busy doing things that they don’t see what needs to be done.

Overwhelmed1 In their self assessments, most of the leaders I’m working with think they’re doing a great job on action oriented behaviors. They give themselves relatively high marks on things like taking accountability, making timely decisions and being clear about communicating desired outcomes.

Don’t get me wrong. That’s good stuff. Effective leaders demonstrate those strengths. You know what they say about strengths, though. A strength when overused can be a weakness. That’s where the lowest ranked behaviors in the self assessment come into play.  There are five of them that really stand out and, collectively, they’re signs that you’re so busy doing things you may not really see what needs to be done.

How do you stack up on these behaviors?

  1. Pace myself by building in regular breaks from work.
  2. Manage workload so that I have time for unexpected problems or issues.
  3. Give others my full presence and attention during meetings and conversations.
  4. Regularly take time to step back and define or redefine what needs to be done.
  5. Build a network to stay connected to the market and gain fresh perspective.

Which of these behaviors represent an opportunity for you to be an even more effective leader?  Which one have you been working on lately? Any tips you’d like to share with the rest of us?  Which ones would you like to get some tips on?