5 Things Successful Leaders Don’t Waste a Second Thinking About

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
May 30, 2024 at 4:56PM UTC

Feeling like you’re not as productive as you want to be at work (or home, if that’s where you’re working these days)? Do you wonder if there are bottlenecks holding up your operations? Could the cause be behaviors you’re exhibiting?

As a leader, you set the tone for your team. And sometimes, you might be doing things that waste your own time — and that of the organizations. So, if you’re causing any of these five lags, it might be time to reassess.

1. Saying ‘yes’ when they want to say ’no.’

Being a leader means taking charge. If you’re agreeing to something you don’t think is right, then you’re showing your team that you lack the confidence to take control and say ‘no’ when it’s necessary. You have the authority to make decisions that might not be popular, and you can’t waste time worrying about what other people think. If an action or proposal warrants a no, then don’t be afraid to say so.

2. Worrying about *exactly* how work is getting done.

In other words, don’t micromanage. Don’t think about micromanaging. Don’t actually do it. If employees are delivering results, then you shouldn’t need to worry about exactly how they’re doing it, even if it’s not the style of work you prefer or the way you would do things yourself.

3. Dwelling on their mistakes (or mistakes their team makes).

We all make mistakes. The best leaders — and workers in general — will take a moment to reflect on what they did wrong, learn what they can and move on. They don’t dwell on these errors or beat themselves up because they won’t gain anything from doing so.

Your team members will make mistakes, too. When this happens, show compassion and help them learn from them. It won’t do any good to fly off the rails and berate them; that will only make them lose confidence, which could very well lead to further mistakes.

4. Worrying about things they can’t control. 

In a world filled with uncertainty — especially during these tumultuous times — it’s normal to want to be able to control things. Perhaps you’re full of anxiety about how your business will fare during the difficult economic climate. Maybe you’re worried about a company merger. Or you could just be feeling a general sense of dread about the COVID-19 pandemic and other large-scale issues plaguing the entire world. 

We all worry. But if you spend all your time worrying about things beyond your control, it will take a toll on your leadership and your own work. So, if you find yourself overly preoccupied, try finding outlets for your stress, such as implementing a mindfulness practice.

5. Operating without a schedule or plan.

Having a solid plan in place is actually a solution for dealing with stress. While you can’t be certain how everything will go, creating one will give you a sense of direction. It will also inform your team about your long- and short-term goals and help them adjust their own work accordingly.

You don’t have to craft your plan alone, either. Get input from your team on what they deem the most essential priorities, too. That way, you’ll all be on the same page.

Eliminating these behaviors isn’t necessarily easy — for example, it can be difficult to stop worrying about things you can’t control when they’re concerning — but it will improve your work. Moreover, it will allow you to improve team dynamics; after all, your employees are looking to you as an example — so be the role model and leader they need.


Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor in Brooklyn. She has written content for organizations including Penguin Random House, CollegeVine, Studio Institute, Touro College, ACUE, and many others. Her essays and satire have appeared in Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Funny-ish, Jane Austen's Wastebasket, xo Jane, and other publications.

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