In the midst of running an organization, we can all get caught up trying to keep all the plates spinning. While we are all responsible for our organization, not every area deserves equal attention.

When I was in restaurant management, I always prided myself on my personal productivity. I would go to work, and I would make sure everything was done that was necessary to keep the business going. I didn’t want anyone to ever say I wasn’t pulling my own weight.

There was an issue with this; my primary focus was on the wrong thing. Yes, things were getting done, and typically the business was doing better than when under previous management, but I was missing the thing that needed my attention the most – my team.

You have probably heard the old adage, “teamwork makes the dream work.” The problem is, many leaders fail to take care of their teams and wonder why things are not moving forward. They get their job done but wonder why the members of their team are not operating at their full capacity. We think, “they are getting paid so they are fine.” We fail to realize that people are not vending machines; money alone won’t make them operate to their full potential.

Leader, it is your job to take care of your team. Each member of your team needs someone in their corner that uniquely cares for and encourages them.

But exactly how do we do that? This can differ from place to place, but a few questions may help?
1. Who is my team?

If your organization is larger than a few handfuls of people, you will not be able to personally give attention to each person. In this case, you have to decide who will receive personal attention from you. These can include those who are heads of department, your direct reports, or those you desire to personally develop.

2. How will you care for your team?

You can also restate this, “how will you develop them?” There needs to be a change of perspective to nail this one. Instead of thinking of what is most important in our eyes, we need to discover what is significant in their eyes. Yes, they still need to do their jobs, but when our entire focus is what we can get from them, they will not be as likely to stick around. I heard someone once say, “train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

Caring for people can include coaching, education, training, public recognition, or private recognition. The goal of this is to make sure the person is uniquely cared for and encouraged. If you are looking for other simple ideas this article from Forbes outlines eleven ways.

3. How will I create space to care for my team?

You can’t just shove things in your calendar when they fit. You have to intentionally and consistently make space for the priorities in your business. Decide how many hours a week you will give to caring for and developing your team. If you are doing one-on-ones you may give a half hour weekly or bi-weekly for your direct reports. You may do a once a month lunch for your team. Whatever you decide to do, it should be part of your schedule.

Someone once said, “the potential of your organizations rests on the strength of its people.” Caring for and developing your people is one of the most important responsibilities you have. And it will have a great return on investment.

If you are just starting with one-on-one development start small. Pick a person or two, and tell them you want to do one-on-ones for the next 90 days. The goal is not how many people you can develop, but giving adequate time and attention to develop some with excellence.

I would love to hear how you are going to, or currently are, caring for your team.

 

There are those seasons of life that are incredibly busy. These seasons have the potential to chew us up and spit us out, but you can learn to thrive in them.

I am currently in an incredibly busy season of life. Just sitting here writing this post makes me think of the millions of other things I have to do. We have a large initiative at the church I lead; I’m preparing for outside speaking engagements, I am having some issues with an investment property, and more. I know that many of you reading this are just as busy as I am, if not more.

If I am not careful this busy season will really wear me out, and this has, in fact, happened to me in the past. Luckily, there is a better way.

One of the busiest seasons of my life was two years ago. I was completely overwhelmed. One day I was on the phone with my coach, and he really helped me put things into perspective. He essentially let me know that I may not be able to accomplish everything on my list, but I needed to ask myself what 3-5 things if done with excellence would be enough.

My desire is to help you navigate this season of overwhelm by doing a few necessary things.

1. Say yes to priorities.

You need to discover what your priorities are in this season. Take a moment to write down what the most important things are that need to be done.

One of my favorite books on the subject of priorities is Essentialism, by Greg McKeown. In that book Greg states, “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” I don’t believe that you want someone else choosing your priorities for you.

In order to help you decide your priorities, use the Steven Covey quadrant to help you decipher what is most important. Over time you will be able to do this without having to use the quadrant, as it will become second nature to you.

2. Say no to things that are not priorities.

When things are busy we can get tired and our decision-making skills will not be as sharp. During busy seasons you have to be especially careful about what you say yes to.

Your time is a limited commodity, as there are only so many hours in the day. Because of this, every time you say yes to one thing you are saying no to something else. So, by saying yes to one thing, you may be saying no to your family, sleep, or finances.

When you get a request from someone and you know it’s not a priority, you can simply tell them that in order to be faithful to prior commitments you have to say no. If it’s your boss, you may have to tell them that yes, you can do this, but then ask which other tasks they want you to give up.

3. Say yes to rest.

Many times you may sacrifice rest when times are busy. Do yourself a favor; say yes to a good night’s sleep. Now, this may look different for you than others but get enough sleep. If you get the adequate sleep you are less likely to be stressed, and people will want to be around you more. If you are like me, you get a little grumpier when you have not rested enough.

You may think that you get more done by working late into the night, but studies show that sleep deficit is a productivity killer. So, unless you are part of the sleepless elite, get a minimum of seven hours of sleep.

Give yourself a clear time of when you need to be in bed by, and don’t slowly let it slip.

By giving yourself some clarity on what should actually be done during this season, you give yourself the liberty to say no to the wrong things and yes to the right things. You will be less overwhelmed and stressed out, sleep better, and don’t neglect your family or health as much. If you do these things you can thrive during this season instead of simply surviving.

I know there are more tips that you can add to this conversation, and I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

A Free Guide on How to Empower Others and Focus on Your Priorities

If you believe in your organization or cause, you probably want to reach more people. However, there is one issue; as individuals, we are limited in how much we can accomplish alone. In the midst of our day-to-day activities, we get stuck doing things that are not our highest payoff activity.

It was in a season where I was wanting to move forward the mission of the church I lead that I created “Discovering the Process of Delegation.” I wrote it for both me and my team. Seasons of frustration can result in a season of innovation. Most of the good content out there on any subject came from the writer’s struggle with a topic or situation, which was precisely the case with this eBook.DelegationCover3

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There I was, wanting to move forward so badly, but instead, I was getting caught up doing activities that would be better suited for someone else. I have a real tension to manage though; most of the work at the organization I lead is done by volunteers. So I can’t just dump what I don’t want to do onto them, simply because it is not fair. For this reason, I believe we should delegate tasks to others according to their passions and skills.

What I was lacking was a clear process to get the results I desired. So, I created it in this eBook with accompanying worksheets. “Discovering the Process of Delegation” is not only a short eBook, but it also includes step-by-step instructions to help you empower those around you. Yes, although you may have attempted to delegate before and possibly failed, the issue is that you may not have delegated correctly.

“Discovering the Process of Delegation” will help you:
* Understand the principles of delegation
* Know the rules for effective delegation
* Empower your team
* Decide who the person to delegate to is
* Discover your highest payoff activities

I have included two worksheets that will help you track a path of effective delegation. I seriously believe that the results you can get from following the steps laid out in this eBook can transform your organization.

In exchange for the book, all that I ask is that you subscribe to my email list. This will help you stay up to date with the best content I create. I would also love your feedback on the book.