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Ideas from Nihar – September Edition: “Managing Two Endless Demands on Today’s Leaders”

Two endless demands on today’s leaders

As I’m sure you can relate, the life of a leader involves many daily challenges.

In my work with them, two come up all the time: relationship management and time management.

First, let’s look at relationships.

As most executives know, leadership is a “contact sport.” You can’t lead others without engaging them. But let’s face it: we’re not always ready and willing to deal with others all the time – particularly those people who are different than us.

In working with my executive clients, I found something quite fascinating: indeed there are some who struggle with engaging their teams and colleagues and these leaders are typically perceived in neutral to negative ways.

But there are actually many leaders who actively engage others and still are perceived negatively: in fact, they are often seen as “intimidating” to their colleagues.

Many variables go into these perceptions; some are intimidated by leaders because of their style and some are intimidated simply because of the leader’s status in a hierarchical organization.

Whatever the reason, leaders who simply consider that they may be intentionally or unintentionally causing trepidation in their colleagues are much more prepared to address and shift these perceptions than leaders that ignore this possibility.

My recent Harvard Business Review article provides some advice that might be helpful if this resonates for you or a colleague you work with.

Relationship management is a perennial challenge for leaders (and really everyone). But there are some simple ways to advance stronger perceptions and trust if the positive intention is there.

From managing relationships to managing time

The other issue that comes up all the time is time management. With rarely an hour free on leaders’ calendar, It can become frustrating to balance the busy work with doing the activities that truly will move you further on your goals.

If you’re struggling with time management at work or at home like many of my clients, here’s something I learned from a professor at my graduate school, Wharton’s Adam Grant:

It’s the idea of shifting from time management to “attention management.” This article in the New York Times may provide you some ideas worth trying.

What do I do with the time I’ve finally freed up?

Now, Adam Grant’s ideas may help you find a few more hours in the day. But if you’re like me, you know it’s so easy to squander this precious time away with all that distracts us.

Here’s where a professor at my undergraduate college offers some powerful suggestions – Georgetown’s Cal Newport – who wrote the incredible book Deep Work on being successful through distractions. You’ll be amazed at how much he has accomplished and still manages to do it all with a 9-5 schedule.

This highly informative article gives you a summary of the book and some ways to start implementing Cal’s ideas.

Well, that’s it for now and if any topics come to mind that you’d like future installments to include, shoot me an email at [email protected].

Best wishes,


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