7 Deadly Time Traps for LeadersRecently I was asked to speak at a CEO forum on strategic use of the CEO’s time. This was a great opportunity to review the common themes emerging from our  keynotes and workshops and leadership team retreats.

These time traps apply to anyone in a leadership role, but especially to senior executives. How many of these traps have you fallen into?

1. Highly Reactive and Crazy Busy

  • Is your day a blur of meetings, phone calls, and e-mails with almost no time for reflection?
  • Are you living life from your inbox and overwhelmed by a blizzard of e-mails?

2. The Acceleration Trap

  • Is your team/organization overloaded with too many priorities and conflicting activities?
  • Are you loading new projects and goals on top of existing workloads without rigorous “stop doing” pruning to make room for them?

3. Low Culture/Capacity Development

  • Does your team/organization invest little time in culture/leadership development because you’re too busy or feel budgets are too tight?
  • Is your planning focused mostly on budgets and operations?

4. Poor Monkey Management

  • Are you loading more and more “monkeys on your back” as you solve problems for your team members?
  • Are you micromanaging your direct reports? What do they think? How do you know?

5. No Time for Coaching Skill Development

  • Have you developed your coaching skills and get regular feedback on the effectiveness of your coaching conversations?
  • Do you use a coaching framework to focus your coachee on developing possible solutions and owning the issue?

6. Working in Versus on Your Team

  • Does your team have an offsite retreat to reflect and refocus at least once per year?
  • Does your team periodically ask what should we keep doing, stop doing, and start doing/do more to increase our effectiveness?

7. Falling Down the Meeting Sinkhole

  • Do your meetings have clear goals/outcomes for each agenda item, ground rules to minimize disruptions, document decisions, agreed action plans, and rigorous follow through?
  • Do you regularly review and adjust the purpose, process, participants, and effectiveness of all meetings?

Further Reading and Resources: