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Leaders: This is The Most Important Thing You Can Do Today at Work (and it’s Not about Productivity)

by Thuy Sindell, PhD. and Milo Sindell, MS.

Your team should focus on productivity, but as a leader, your focus should be on bringing the right perspective to your role.

Every day we are faced with the need to get things done, produce, move projects forward, and advance the business. A common source of blame for not getting things done, all that can, or needs to be done in our day is time and specifically not enough of it. Prioritizing the important stuff is not so tough. In fact is very straight forward when you are clear on what are the most important actions that need to be taken.

The steps required towards greater productivity is pretty much common knowledge that is often hijacked by funny cat photos, poor time management, and a lack of discipline.

But this is not about your productivity or lack of it. Not productive enough? – Google “David Allen”, get control over your Facebooking, and stop it with the cranky cat pics.

As a leader, the most important thing that you can do in a single day to make a difference to your career, business success, and your personal happiness is not about the task, getting it done, or checking the box. The most important action that you can take any given day is bringing the right mental perspective to what you do.

What is the right mental perspective?

Though each situation warrants varying behaviors and responses, there are three pillars that comprise the right mental perspective: Curiosity, Confidence, and Caring (the three C’s).

  1. Curiosity: No cat killing here. Curiosity is where the most important ideas and inventions start. It all begins here. Let me put it this way: status quo = slow decay and death. Curiosity = life. Curiosity means you seek to uncover the underlying issues, concerns, opportunities, and problems. You explore multiple paths to a solution. You seek to uncover the concerns and motivations of others and to explore alternative solutions. Curiosity also means that you look inward: you posses the drive to deepen your level of understanding about yourself and continue to learn and grow.
  2. Caring: Gosh, the word “caring” sounds so soft and cuddly. In reality, really caring about something takes lots of hormones and isn’t child’s play. Because if you really, no BS, really care about something, than you actually do something about it. To care enough about the individual, team, customer, and company to make the effort that is needed. Caring also means focusing on yourself such as creating work life balance and fulfilling your needs as a person not only an employee.
  3. Confidence: Do you have what it takes to care? To be Curious? You will need to put on your big boy / big girl pants in order to step up. Got ‘em on? Confidence means that you take a risk, speak up when no one else is doing so, state the truth, apologize when you make a mistake, stand up for others, give credit to others when credit is due, and make the difficult decisions. Confidence requires being true to yourself as a leader and manifesting your values.

What are the steps that can be taken to bring this to action?

Curiosity. Bringing a mental perspective of curiosity begins by asking questions. The line of questioning should range from exploring what actions you can take in your current environment to do things differently to posing questions to the team that may expand thinking. What if…? What can we do differently? Imagine if…?

Caring. Deep meaningful caring begins with identifying what you care about in the context of the people, projects, objectives that surround you. Finding the meaningful place to invest your caring calories takes discretion. For example, you may not care at all about refining the accounting teams methods for depreciation but you care deeply about the impact and results that you bring to each project you touch.

Confidence. Confidence begins by believing in yourself, who you are, and having a pretty good sense of what is important to you. Before testing the waters, think about what is important to you and your values. Next step is believing in yourself and bringing that belief to what you do. Bring this attitude to action takes place by manifesting your curiosity and caring.

What is the impact of deploying this mental perspective?

Bringing to bear the three C’s to what you do will transform how you interact with the people, teams, broader company, and how you show up as a leader. Through a mental perspective grounded in curiosity, confidence, and caring you become inherently more engaged in your work, proactively unearthing and addressing concerns of your customers, coworkers, and company, and maximizing the personal return on the efforts you are making because you are equally caring and aware about your needs. Isn’t this what being a leader should be about?

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