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Beware the Busy Manager Part I

Time You're busy. I'm busy. We're all busy. In fact, if you ask most business people what they want more of -- in both their personal and professional lives -- they'll likely tell you they want more time. And then they'll bemoan the fact that they have to:

  • rush between back-to-back meetings,
  • check their emails constantly to be sure they don't miss important happenings,
  • put out fire after fire, and
  • make endless phone calls from the road.

Sound familiar? Yeah, me too. What most business people don't tell you, and may not even realize, is that all of that busyness IS the problem. Being busy is NOT synonymous with being effective. It's deceiving though because we can't imagine being effective any other way.

But there is another way. A better way in fact. The characteristics of managers who are most effective are: Focus and Commitment. Not one or the other. Effective managers display both.

  • Managers who are NOT focused OR committed will carry out their routine responsibilities because that's how they see their role. But don't count on them to be strategic or come up with new solutions requiring change.
  • Managers who are focused but not committed tend to start projects but seldom have the energy to see them through to completion. Organizations can even discourage new managers from being committed by not rewarding their initiative or their curiosity and creative ideas.
  • Managers who are committed but not focused do a lot of things. Their to-do lists are long and they're members of numerous task forces and teams. But they become easily overwhelmed and burn out rather than achieve significant results.
  • Managers who are focused AND committed achieve a short list of critical long-term goals with a vigor that is unstoppable. They're effective and achieve results.

You don't hear a lot of busyness in that last description, do you? In "Beware the Busy Manager Part II," we'll explore the behaviors of focused and committed managers. We'll look at how they spend that most precious of resources -- time-- that makes all the difference for themselves and their organizations.

Photo on flickr by mazsola

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