Just So Busy
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

I recently listened to a podcast where an executive coach was following up with his clients on leadership activities they had committed to. The response he got was, “we are just so busy.” Apparently, they didn’t have the time to work with their teams on leadership development. Work just got in the way. As I thought about that statement, I realized that these leaders were missing the point of leadership development. Yes, you need to be intentional, and yes, it takes time, but they were trying to create separate learning opportunities and were blind to the opportunities all around them. Let me give you three examples of what I mean.

  • Leadership is caught more than taught, and modeling leadership behaviors is a powerful teaching tool. Leaders have meetings and appointments that are integral to running a successful organization, and each of these meetings has the potential to be a teaching moment. When planning our week, we should be looking at meetings or appointments that would be valuable for our up-and-coming leader to attend. After the meeting, simply ask them for their takeaways or what impressions they had. It may only add five or ten minutes to your day, but the learning opportunity might be priceless.
  • You are, or at least should be, learning and growing yourself as a leader. What books are you reading? What podcasts are you listening to? A coaching client once told me he and his team would listen to and discuss podcasts. As my client learned new things, the team learned them as well. At Selflock, I used ‘Lunch and Learns ‘ as a leadership development tool. I would select a book, and as a team, we would read a few chapters at a time and then discuss them over lunch every few weeks. We learned from each other as we ate our lunch.
  • Everyone needs a thinking partner. Why not invite your young leaders into your thinking process? As you share your thoughts and get feedback, team members learn how you think and the value of additional minds to make good ideas great.

Don’t over-complicate leadership development. As you grow, share what you are learning. As you review your weekly calendar, identify learning opportunities you can share with others. Don’t make leadership development another thing to add to your calendar; look for the opportunities in your daily life.