Procrastination is not inherently evil. There may be benefits to procrastination. Before ending procrastination for good, make sure you understand why you are delaying in the first place.
Why do we procrastinate?
No commitment. You realize after waiting a period of time that you aren’t fully committed to the goal. Better to know before you spend hours and hours on it, then abandon it.
Bad idea. It may be that you realize it’s a bad idea or that there is another way to accomplish something.
Too many goals. Maybe you put it aside in favor of something else or you have competing priorities.
Laziness. You look at your last week and realize that you have no excuse. You are just lazy. A sloth.
Exhaustion. You are physically and mentally spent doing other things, and you don’t start because your tank is running on empty.
Fear of failure. By not starting, you don’t finish and therefore reduce your risk of failure. After all, if you finish, everyone will see the end result and judge it. Rather than risk that, you never begin.
Photo by Michael W. May on flickr.
At first blush, you may think a servant leader literally takes on the role of a servant. Taken to an extreme, that definition would look like this:
As you pull into work, the leader meets you at your car, opens your door, and welcomes you to the office. Maybe the leader gets you coffee mid-morning and drops by in the afternoon to see if you need anything. When you need assistance on a project, or maybe just someone to do the grunt work, there your leader is, waiting for you.
No, that isn’t servant leadership.
Servant leadership is a blend and balance between leader and servant. You don’t lose leadership qualities when becoming a servant leader.
A servant leader is one who:
1. Values diverse opinions.
A servant leader values everyone’s contributions and regularly seeks out opinions. If you must parrot back the leader’s opinion, you are not in a servant-led organization.
2. Cultivates a culture of trust.
People don’t meet at the water cooler to gossip. Pocket vetoes are rejected.
When I first became a CEO, I noticed something strange.
In a meeting, I was suddenly funnier. The slightest hint at humor could erupt the room into laughter. I was also smarter. And my arguments were more persuasive. Heads would bob up and down as I made a point.
Obviously my new title didn’t bestow some magical gift of brilliance. What it provided was positional power, and people were reacting to the position.
Immediately, I knew what happened. It took me longer to figure out what to do about it.
I’d seen this much earlier in my career when people would “parrot” the CEO. I call it the Parrot Principle. To get along and be accepted, some find it’s just easier to parrot the CEO than to think critically, to argue, or to be independent. Why rock the boat when you can just agree and repeat what you’re told?
The cause is usually fear. Fear of losing a job or of not being in the inner circle. It’s also a symptom of a culture needing change.
Because of a lack of self-confidence, a fear of job loss, or an extreme need for acceptance, it is easier to agree with the boss than to advance a different point of view.
The result is usually what I call a “pocket veto” where people nod in a meeting, then go outside and talk about what they really believe. It’s bad for everyone. The company is not served well. The CEO may not even realize what’s happening. And the parrot is building distrust throughout the organization.
It’s not just the new CEO who faces this problem. It’s almost any new position of power. If others are dependent on you, you can be vulnerable to the Parrot Principle.
So what can you do about it?
Photo by mydigitalSLR on flickr.
One of the most important jobs of a manager is to provide feedback. And it’s not just advice from the boss. Whether you’re raising kids or leading a team project, feedback is a critical tool for success.
Effective feedback has nine elements. They are:
If you work for a boss who gives you little to no feedback all year long, then you know the dreaded process. You fill out a performance review form. You schedule a meeting with your boss. You sit down and wait to see what will happen. You have no idea what to expect. You may be nervous, anxious or just plain curious about what she will say.
An effective boss doesn’t wait for performance review time to give feedback. It’s a continual process. I’ve found the most effective feedback is given during informal times—over a cup of coffee or lunch. You have the opportunity to have a discussion about something.
Photo by cobalt123 on flickr.
This time last year, I was a Twitter skeptic. How do you find the time to tweet? Who cares what you ate for dinner? I don’t care what you are watching on TV.
What I knew of the service was limited because I wasn’t a participant. My judgment of Twitter was like watching a show from the obstructed view section, then trying to rate the performance.
I finally joined Twitter and sent my first tweet on November 16, 2011. A month later, I was fully “Twidicted.” I launched a blog and one of my first posts was Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Twitter Any Longer.
As I started to gain followers, I learned a great deal from them. Here are some of my Twitter tips and common mistakes (yes, many of which I proudly made personally).
Tip 1: Learn from role models.
Once I joined, I jumped right in. Watching others, reading articles, and asking questions was all part of the fun. Peppering my celebrity and non-celebrity friends alike about how they use the service made an interesting subject.
The Twitter community is made up of people happy to help, who love the service, and have information to share. Ask away.
For me, the key question was: How do I use this social media tool effectively?
Tip 2: Start with purpose.