I have a friend who is in constant crisis, but not the life-threatening kind of crisis. This is the, “Oh my gosh, I forgot about x, y, and z and this deadline is up – can you bail me out?” crisis. It is a relationship drain, to the point where I often consider dodging phone calls. Likewise, if you are in a leadership role and this is your modus operandi, it can deflate your organization. If this describes you, consider whether you might be overextended. Alternatively, does this signify other problems like poor time management or an inability to multi-task, plan ahead and stay organized? The following basic steps can help you stay on top of your game.
Delegate the right way Obviously, delegation is a key of all effective leadership. You can’t do everything, nor should you want to. If you’re trying to do everything without any delegation, that’s probably the root of your problem. However, there is such a thing as too much delegation. Maintain an active role in the organization to bolster your credibility and relevancy with your team. It also presents opportunities to prove you will do what you say you’ll do. Another key part of delegating the right way: respect. Don’t delegate at the last minute. Give your delegatee a very reasonable amount of time to accomplish the task. It’s also important that you’re not approaching team members only when you need something. Develop relationships and talk to them even when you don’t have to. Lastly, spread the delegated tasks around so you’re not monopolizing any one person’s time.
Plan ahead Seriously, keep a planner. Set a cell phone reminder. Make lists. Send yourself a voicemail. Just as there are different ways of managing people, there are different ways of managing information. What works for your colleague might not work for you, but find a system that does work and stick with it. Whatever it takes to get the job done and remember all your commitments, that’s what you should do.
Stop and think Make it a habit each evening or each morning to think about the next 24 hours you’re about to face. Do you have any standing commitments on that day of the week? Mentally run through the day from start to finish, considering personal and work life. If you feel like you’re forgetting something, don’t hesitate to ask colleagues and family members for a little help jogging your memory. Everybody needs a little assistance sometimes, but you must balance that with self-sufficiency. If you don’t, you may look around one day and see nobody to help you out. They’ll be too busy dodging your phone calls.