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Doing Well Starts With Doing Less

May 26, 20235 min read

Most leaders try to do too much. I often share with folks, “Everyone is good at something, but no one is good at everything.”

Most leaders struggle with knowing what they should do and what they shouldn’t do. We often tell ourselves, “I can do it. So, I just do it.” The better question is “Should I do it?”

People who overload themselves with too many responsibilities reduce their effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of work. With so much that needs to be done, how do you determine what you should do and shouldn’t do? How can you make sure you are not trying to do too much?

Read below to discover some guidance to answering these questions and more!

Gain clarity about your role!

When you start a business, you do a lot of things. Initially, starting a new company requires you to do virtually everything. Growth will require you to constantly change your role and scope of responsibility. 

Typically, a leader takes on one task, then another, then another, until he eventually finds himself doing too much. It is important to regularly assess your role and make adjustments to your scope of work.

When was the last time you took a good look at what you are doing? Many leaders find themselves weary because they are doing too much.

Rather than rethink the scope of their work, they just buckle down and work harder. That works for a little while, but eventually they wear themselves. They are doing things they are not really good at doing which require more energy and create more stress.

If you find your days jammed full of responsibilities, you are probably trying to do too many things. Work hard to clarify your role in your company. Limit yourself to what only you can do and what you do best.  

Gain Clarity About Your Role

Discover your personal strengths!

Everyone has a large capacity to do many things, but you will enjoy and do best at things that fit your personal strengths. I use the StrengthFinders assessment to help people learn about themselves.

This assessment enables individuals to discover their natural gifting or abilities. It evaluates people on the basis of 34 strengths. Gallup provides a report based upon your top 5 strengths. The report is inexpensive ($19.95) and adequate for most people.

Learning about your strengths provides insight about where and how to place yourself in your company. While many things need to be done, you want to place yourself in your strengths.

Working in your strengths energizes you. Working in areas of weakness drains you. When you work for others, you don’t always have the choice to work primarily in your strengths. When you run a business, you should use your authority to place yourself in areas you do well.

Limit your activities to what you do best!

Perhaps the hardest word in the English language to use is the word “no.” We actually use it more regularly than we think. We use it without realizing that we are doing so.  

Every time you say “yes” to something, you are saying “no” to something else. The key is to become cognizant that you are making important decisions on a daily basis.

Take time regularly to stop long enough to make good decisions. While I certainly recognize that very few people have the luxury of only doing things they are good at doing, most leaders can position themselves so that they work in their strengths 80% of the time.

Many leaders spend 20% of their time in areas of their strength and 80% in areas where they are weak. They need to reverse these percentages. If they do so, they will be much happier, much more productive, and more profitable.  

Build Your Dream Team

Build a team around you to accomplish the other responsibilities!

There are multiple responsibilities in a company that must take place for the business to do well. The key to accomplishing everything is to build a good team around you as the leader.  

Building a good team takes time and requires insights and discernment. It requires you to have clarity about each role and find people whose strengths enable them to perform well those roles.

Imagine the delight of running a company in which everyone’s role is clear, and everyone is functioning in his or her strength. People like their jobs and do well at them. The leader is working 80% of his time in his strengths, and so are the other employees. Such a business will do extremely well.

Stay in your lane!

Many leaders have difficulty staying in their lane. They tend to micro-manage others. While I am not advocating abdicating oversight, oversight and micro-management are not identical.

Good oversight requires clear communication and expectations. It also requires “inspecting what you expect.” It does not require the leader to get intimately involved in every aspect of running his business.

Staying in your lane means you focus on what you do best and let others focus on what they do best. If you stay in your lane, you will be happy, productive, and effective. If you drift into the lanes of others, you will become weary, aggravate others, and cap the growth of your company. So, stay in your lane!

Doing less sounds so easy, but it is not. It requires the leader to take evaluation, discover some things about himself and others, build a solid team around himself, and purpose to do what he does best. The benefits of doing so are tremendous. Give it a try. I promise you that you will question why it took you so long to make such adjustments and do less better.

5 Simple Steps to Growing a Business

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Dave Pennington PhD

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