Ten Things to Stop Avoiding

I have a lengthy list of things in my head that leaders avoid doing; here are the top ten. I also hear plenty of excuses for not doing them. Time to remind you of what’s important. What’s your excuse for not doing these?

Developing: It’s is your responsibility to prepare your team members for their next step; it may be your job. And they won’t be ready. Who on your team needs to be stretched and how will you coach them?

Delegating: You’re running ragged because you are the only one who can do some things (or so you think). Meanwhile, your staff would love to be challenged. What can you delegate and challenge them with?

Giving: Your best employees want and need your feedback. Give it to them. What do they need to know?

Reflecting: This allows you to process what you need to do, what you are doing well, and what you need to change. Blowing through your day, crisis by crisis is no way to get better at what you do. When will you start?

Trusting: There are people that you are avoiding and working around because you don’t trust them. Have a dialog and lay it on the line and from the heart with these people. What do you need to say?

Building: To be your best at leading, you must look beyond your daily relationships and find ways to network with others whom you can learn from. Take a small step and start today. Who do you need to know better?

Recognizing: Stop and consider the good things that your employees are doing. Who needs to be recognized and thanked?

Celebrating: An act of omission, you forget that an essential part of your leadership is helping others to rejoice in their successes. What’s going well and how will you celebrate with them?

Balancing: You aren’t taking care of yourself as you should. You work long hours with lots of stress. Your physical, spiritual, and emotional health are neglected. What small thing can you begin to do to take care of yourself today?

Aligning: You are making money, but it may not be enough. Aligning your values and passion with your work are essential. Spend some time reflecting on what’s not aligned for you at work. What do you need to start or stop doing?

At least one of these has been tapping you on the shoulder to be remedied. The things we avoid drain our energy and make us less effective leaders. Choose one to work on, and take a small step toward resolution today!

I am a former executive in a Fortune 100 company. I have owned and operated an executive coaching firm since 2003 called Aspire Collaborative Services LLC. We partner with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success. This blog is for leaders and those who help them to be more intentional about relationships at work. My top personal values include respect for others, kindness, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. I work very hard at practicing my values daily and when I don’t succeed, I practice some more. I am married with two wonderful daughters and two spoiled pugs.

18 comments on “Ten Things to Stop Avoiding

  1. A really terrific post, Mary Jo. How nice to “discover” you through my friend Doyle Slayton at salesblogcast.

    I would like to quote some of it in my blog http://halalpiar.com with of course proper credit and a direct link to you. Please let me know.

    It’s refreshing to see your level of professionalism in today’s marketplace.

    Thank you. Hal Alpiar

  2. Thanks for your kind words Hal. And yes, of course you may quote some of it on your blog, and I appreciate your asking. It looks like I will enjoy your blog as well!

  3. Your list is certainly convicting. As someone guilty of avoiding each issue, I found myself quite self-conscious after reading it.

    So I would suggest one more for No. 11: “Forgiving: You’re not perfect and neither is anyone you’re likely to work with. Accept reasonable failures and don’t hold yourself or others to supernatural standards.”

  4. Great post. The first two of your top ten are things which have been tapping me on the shoulder lately. Good reminder to get started.

  5. Hi Mary Jo,
    I liked these top 10 things for leadership. It is a good reminder on how refocus on what makes a good leader. Help and care for your people and celebrate in their success, because it makes your job easier and they get something great out of it.

  6. Nice post Mary Jo,

    I have to agree with the top ten here but often see numbers one and two far more often. A heightened sense of self-importance leads to senior employees thinking that they are irreplaceable and while at the current time that may be true but a great organization will make sure that is not the case.

  7. I love Brandon’s addition. So true! You made me think with this post, Mary Jo. Surprise, surprise. When I first read the list I found a few of the categories redundant. Recognizing and celebrating are the same thing, right? Ah, but they aren’t. Reading through your list a few times allowed me to see how I’ve checked some things off the list in the past when I shouldn’t have. I’ve allowed one action to count in a few ways and didn’t quite cover the ground I thought I had. As always, thanks for the brain food.

  8. Wally, why didn’t I think of that :-). Nice addition, thanks.

    Thanks Eric.Celebrating success is a rare thing in our organizations.

    Joe, if there is one thing that I learned in my 30 years of work in the corporate world, anyone and everyone can be replaced – or promoted! Why not make it easy on the staff who will step up to fill your position? It’s good for the organization’s health, too.

    Lisa, I sure didn’t mean for anything to be redundant, and you picked up on the nuances. Thanks, and three cheers for brain food!

  9. This is a great list, Mary Jo, but I do have to agree with Wally on being surprised at your omission of listening. Knowing you, I would have expected that to top the list. 🙂

    I don’t agree, though, that recognizing and celebrating are redundant. One can recognize that we’ve reached a certain milestone, completed a certain task. But celebrating that accomplishment will do so much more to increase employee motivation and drive because it reinforces their understanding that the work they completed mattered.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean we go overboard and celebrate every little task that gets done. But taking the time to celebrate with your team what you’ve accomplished so far will go a long way to keeping the momentum directed to pushing ahead.

  10. I loved every one of these, “things to stop avoiding.” They each ring true and will help to make every office environment more enjoyable and productive. Thanks!

  11. I think 1-8 are easy things to do when we put our minds to it. It is not that we avoid doing those things, we just do not make time out of our day to do follow those steps. Yet they are easy to do and have a big positve impact. Balancing and aligning are much harder to come to terms with for many people and for myself personally. When people ask me how to better balance their lives and align their work and values, I feel ill equipped to give them sound, actionable advice,especially because I am not good at doing either one of those things in my life. Do you have any suggestions how to better balance and align personal values and life style with the workplace demands put on our managers?

  12. Hi Liza,

    I do know that some leaders avoid 1-8, and that many do not feel they are easy! Lucky you, if you do. I think balancing and aligning are very much related, and may be able to write a future post about them. Thanks for the suggestion!

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