As Leaderonomics continues to grow across countries, it’s inevitable that roles themselves cross over, and people develop as they take on fresh challenges and portfolios.
Each year as I reflect on the efforts by everyone in the company, I feel blessed to work alongside such passionate and talented people who are able to apply their skills and creativity wherever it’s most needed.
The reason why we’re able to continue our growth and expand comes down to the incredible teamwork and willingness of everyone to roll up their sleeves and take on roles that might be less familiar than their usual jobs.
While this approach is a great boost for professional development, it can also induce a degree of stress and struggle that, if left unchecked, impairs focus and judgement and leaves people on survival mode, affecting performance and engagement.
If, like Leaderonomics, you’re blessed with a super team of people who keep the company vision in mind (and know how important they are to its manifestation), you’ll have an organisation that’s driven by a can-do culture and continuously striving to exceed expectations.
That said, employee well-being is never something to take for granted. So, if your organisation calls on people to take on multiple roles and projects, what can you do to help them adjust and reap the rewards of their experience? Something I often emphasise is the capacity for anyone to become a leader, and leadership these days isn’t about whoever’s running the show. In fact, an effective enterprise will have plenty of people who help the organisation to run: leaders are found within teams as much as they are in management positions.
As any leader knows, we have to be good across a range of roles, challenges and tasks. We need to be agile and able to think on our feet, juggling several things that come our way on a daily basis. It’s a tough learning curve, but a rewarding one, which is precisely why people who grow across several roles often turn out to be the most effective leaders.
With that in mind, here are some ideas that can help flex those leadership muscles in dealing with task and time management, expectations and uncertainty that comes with stepping into a new role:
1. Regularly look to the bigger picture
Stress often comes when we narrow our focus solely to what’s happening now. It’s important to deal with what’s in front of us, and part of our growth comes from thinking on our feet in the moment.
Some people, however, get stuck in firefighting mode, which can leave them feeling overwhelmed, under-prepared and inadequate. Returning to the bigger picture – that all challenges push us closer towards leadership confidence and competence – can ease the stress when we remember that it’s all part of the learning process.
Whether we’re starting on our leadership journey or 20 years in the saddle, we’re all learning through challenges that we face every day. What gets you through is remembering that it’s always a process of progress, not perfection.
2. Get after that one thing
Stepping into a new role, there will be elements that are familiar to you and there will be aspects that initially feel awkward and challenging. The temptation is to work around what we find most difficult, or leave it until late in the day before dealing with it. The best way to get familiar with a tough task is to give all your attention and learn everything there is to know about it.
Seek guidance from others, ask questions or request demonstrations. Having an open and curious mindset is the best way to understand something on a higher level. None of us fully understand everything about what we’re doing. The best leaders are the most ardent students.
3. Put boundaries around your learning
Depending on your workload and other expectations, hopefully it’s possible to spend time adjusting to a new role or project without too much distraction. For example, if you’re learning about a process, leave an auto-response on your email to specify when you’ll be returning messages.
In case of urgent messages, you can include a colleague’s email who can help out should anything come through. Limiting distractions will help increase focus and reduce feelings of irritations that can come from being constantly interrupted.
4. Write about your experiences
The benefits of keeping a daily journal are well-known, and it can also aid professional development to write down questions you have about your multiple roles upon reflection. These can be posed later to the team or a leader and will deepen your understanding as you piece together insights from your experience.
Keeping a daily journal will show where you’ve struggled, but it’ll also show how you’ve grown and what you’ve managed to accomplish, and this will reduce any stress or sense of struggle. Ultimately, it becomes a record of how leadership is like anything worthwhile in life: it has its ups and downs, but if we persevere and keep at it, there’s a lot of meaningful opportunity and growth to be had along the way.