Leadership Success: Flexible Scheduling

If you are leading or an aspiring leader, I am guessing that success is important to you.  Yet in truth many leaders do just the opposite.  If we are totally honest we all to a greater or lesser extent confuse effectiveness with volume.

When it comes to planning and scheduling you know that nothing ever goes entirely to plan.  The best leaders don’t just know this but take action and build some flexibility into their schedule. 

So what do I mean by the term flexible scheduling?  Let’s be clear we are not talking about freewheeling totally but allowing enough time to deal with the unexpected.  Things like:

1. A fire alarm going off and having to evacuate the building for an hour.

2. The computer network going down overnight.

3. The member of your team who needs to speak to you urgently about something.

4. A decision taking longer to reach in a meeting which means that you are playing catch up for the rest of the day.

If your schedule is totally packed with no room for unexpected events you are setting yourself up for:

• A stressful time at work

• A whole load of frustration

• Not enough time to think straight and deal with challenges or problems

• A greater risk of making a serious mistake.

None of which are likely to be great contributors to you achieving success as a leader.  So make a point of building a bit of flexibility into your schedule so that you deliver the results and achieve the success that you desire.  Some simple things that you can do include:

• Scheduling in time before and after each meeting which if you don’t use is available for dealing with the unexpected.

• Not being overly optimistic in what you can achieve in a day.  It is better to have a list of two really important things to complete that make a real difference rather than a list full of nice to do but not essential things.
Bottom Line – Being flexible is not about freewheeling; it is about recognising that as a leader you need to be ready and able to handle the unexpected.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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