Stop It!

I believe it’s good practice to regularly sit back and identify things to stop doing. If we don’t regularly stop doing things that are no longer helpful, how can we expect to change, grow, and be better leaders? So here are some things you might need to stop doing:

1 – Stop Behaving and Communicating Immaturely:

I was cc’d on an email today from a client’s Marketing Director to her leadership team. She was whining to her team because four goals on the organization’s strategic plan will fall to her to lead, and they’re all due within the next six months! Oh my goodness right? Yeah, well three of the goals are not all that time-consuming and they’re things this Director should have had in place already, but that’s a different issue. The point is by whining in an email to the leadership team, her credibility has plummeted. Her narcissistic outlook, childish language, and lack of understanding of the truly big issues facing her company came through loud and clear. Instead of behaving as a professional leadership team member and maturely requesting an extension on one or two of the goals, she behaved and communicated as if she were a whiny child. She’s just lost the respect of her leadership team. Before you express your frustrations, consider the impact on your reputation if you express them immaturely.   

2 – Stop Criticizing Others When You Haven’t Grown as a Leader Yourself:

What specifically have you learned to do differently that has helped you grow as a leader? As a result, what specifically do you do – regularly – that indicates you’ve grown? If you can’t answer those two questions, you’ve lost the right to criticize any member of your team for not developing new skills or enhancing his or her current skills and behaviors. As a leader it’s crucial that you continuously model for your team what it looks like to be a continually evolving member of your team. If you expect your team members to continually enhance their skills, you need to be in front modeling for your team how you do it. Before you criticize others, ensure others can not criticize you.  

3 – Stop Avoiding Taking Ownership of Your Wasted Productivity:  

So many of us are so busy being busy, we lose focus on what’s the best use of our time. As a result, we waste time and we don’t take ownership of our own behavior. We make excuses such as, “Well that’s what she asked me to do.” or “Oh, it doesn’t really take much time.”  Starting today, take ownership of your actions. As you move through your various tasks, before you start each task, ask yourself one or more of these questions:

  • Why am I doing this? Does it really matter?
  • Who is this going to benefit by me doing this or am I doing this just because I always have?
  • How will this generate more business, profits, productivity, engagement, customer loyalty, market share, or brand awareness?
  • Given the resources needed to do this task, are the outcomes worth the effort?

If you’re doing things simply because they’re in front of you, it’s time to stop. Stop wasting your time. Start taking ownership of your time, your work, and your productivity.

As you identify things to stop, visualize the specific alternative actions you need to start taking. Then, do them to maintain your teams respect, model desired behaviors, and enhance your productivity. Stop so you can be the leader your team expects and respects.

This article was originally published on Liz’s website, and is reprinted with permission.