Overcoming Procrastination – A Recipe for Leadership Success
Leadership is supposed to transform companies in ways so that they are better able to meet future challenges. Successful leaders realise this and make the right decisions when it matters, as they demonstrate a pro-active attitude.
Do you ever wonder what kind of an efficient leader an individual could be if they stopped procrastinating? Faster decisions? Better life/work balance? Completed deadlines? These are all distinct possibilities, if they are able to dive into tasks without hesitation.
Procrastination stands for leader’s tendency to delay making important decisions while executing the less important ones. Procrastination is irrational in nature as it does not help in facilitating leadership to take place. In fact, leaders who delay decisions or put off actions that need to be taken are generally less successful.
From an organisational point of view, procrastinating leaders will negatively influence all levels of the organisation and install status-quo thinking among everyone involved. They promote a kind of status-quo thinking among their team members and other employees.
So what causes leaders to fall prey to procrastination tendencies?
a) Care Too Much About What Others Think - It happens that sometimes they want to impress others so much that when given a task they feel so much pressure that it delays their work.
b) Striving For The Perfect - It sounds weird, but perfectionism can be what causes procrastination. Most leaders may want to strive for perfectionism so much that they feel disheartened even before they begin. This is because a goal that seems unachievable can be demoralizing.
c) Doing Things Totally New To Them - You need to embark on a totally new project and you have no idea at all on how to tackle it. The first reaction is to procrastinate. The uncertainty of the result of this task causes leaders to delay commencing the project.
d) The Lack Of Confidence - Another common cause of procrastination is the lack of confidence in completing a task. It can be real that leaders lack the skills but sometimes it may be a perception. Because of this leaders may totally avoid completing the task.
Let’s take the example of Sheryl Sandberg in her role as COO of Facebook who represents a kind of leader who is able to overcome uncertainties and turn it into a goal-oriented leadership. Her leadership style is characterised by a high level of energy and passion. Due to her relentless optimism and looking forward attitude she is able to see opportunities in every challenge
In order to develop a proactive leadership style that is not hindered by the process of procrastination, it is imperative that leaders develop strategies to encounter both forces from within and outside themselves, to practice these strategies and finally act upon them. It is this kind of execution that will make you authentic in the things you do. Being recognised as an authentic decision maker in turn will create conditions facilitating proactivity.
Knowing how badly procrastination can hurt your leadership, these 3 steps can help you rid yourself of procrastination.
1. Keep a checklist of what needs to be done: Procrastination is easy. It will find any way it can to slip into your life. One of the easiest ways to kill it is to keep a list of tasks that need to be completed. Having a visual reminder of your daily tasks and long-term goals keeps them fresh in your mind. You’re also able to see the progress you’ve made as you check them off of the list.
2. Whenever possible, take action immediately: There's an old saying: if you eat a live frog first thing each morning, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that it's probably the worst thing you'll do all day. Using "eat that frog" as a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on, but also the one that might have the greatest positive impact on your life. We procrastinate because we know there’s time to do the work later. But what would happen if we decided that we could clear out a difficult task immediately after receiving it?
3. Decide if it’s something you can delegate: Sometimes we think delegation is part of procrastination. But it’s not. Delegation allows you to assign a task to another, competent team member who may be able to act on it faster than you are able to. This clears your smaller tasks and gets the job done.
At Learngage, we endeavour first time managers and leaders to help them make proactive decisions that shape the future of their business in better ways than before and in this process creating trustworthy and sustainable relationships with their team-members and clients. Our leadership engagement programs that demonstrate long-term benefits are designed with contextual relevance, case studies, activities, self-assessments and research-based methodologies.