We have many good things that we could prioritize as leaders. We could prioritize increasing profits, providing more products or services, hiring more people, mentoring others and the list goes on. Sometimes we worry that if we don’t accomplish it all, we will fail. In reality, if we prioritize everything then nothing is important.
Why are we as leaders tempted to fill our days with activity? One reason is that it allows us to say, “I’m just too busy right now, I’ll get to that later.” We can procrastinate on difficult tasks and focus on more pleasant duties that allow us to check off the boxes and feel productive. However, focusing on the quick, simple tasks will not create momentum.
At times we may procrastinate because the decision we need to make may not be popular. As leaders we want others to like us, and we may want to avoid the difficult conversations we need to have. However, it is impossible to make everyone happy no matter what you decide to do. Leading means making the right decisions, for the right reasons, and for the right outcomes. Establishing the right priorities requires making a conscious decision about how we will choose to impact those around us.
Finally, some leaders may fail to set priorities because they lack a clear mission or purpose for existing. They work to earn money, or to have something to do; but they lack the energy and passion to tackle big projects and complex issues. Leaders have to stretch themselves and challenge their team members to tackle not just what is convenient or will maintain the status quo, but rather what will be memorable, important and life giving.
Our top priorities should produce energy and excitement for accomplishing important things and cause team members to engage in excellent work.
Setting priorities will empower us to be interdependent and self-aware. Only then will a spark be lit which will create a flame which will burn brightly for a long time. It is your choice—will you procrastinate and maintain, or will you shine as you lead others to maximize impact?