As an executive leadership coach who's walked the corridors of corporate leadership, I've witnessed the increasing demands placed on today's leaders and the increased importance of prioritization in leadership. The relentless pursuit of results, the pressure to meet higher expectations, and the evolving dynamics of the modern workforce present challenges that demand a fresh perspective. It’s time to consider a seemingly paradoxical concept—finding ways to "care less"—and how it can unlock a leader's capacity to care more about what truly matters.

The Landscape of Modern Leadership

In a world where job satisfaction is declining, and the workforce is grappling with the stresses of returning to the office or navigating hybrid work, leaders find themselves at a crossroads. Despite efforts to provide flexibility, support, and even salary increases, discontent persists. The distance between leaders and their teams has eroded trust, giving rise to misunderstandings and conflict. The remedy, however, lies not in doing more but in doing things differently.

The Irony of "Caring Less"

As an intentional leadership coach, I often ask my clients a seemingly ironic question: "How can you care less?" It's not a call to apathy, but rather a challenge to shed unnecessary burdens. Leaders must learn to care less about the distracting noise around them - the non-essential matters that hinder their ability to lead with intention. This shift is crucial because caring less about the trivial allows leaders to invest more in what truly matters - leading, engaging and supporting their teams to be their best. 

Prioritization in Leadership & Identifying Less Important Matters

To embark on this journey of caring less, leaders need practical strategies to identify what is less important. Here are 3 ways to navigate this process:

  1. Prioritize Impact: Evaluate tasks and responsibilities based on their potential impact. What actions contribute significantly to team engagement, productivity, and overall success? By prioritizing tasks with a direct impact, leaders can allocate their time and energy where it matters most.
  2. Align with Core Values: Leaders should reassess their activities in light of their organization's core values. Are the tasks aligning with the company's mission and values? If not, there may be distractions that hinder authentic leadership. By aligning actions with core values, leaders can streamline their focus and contribute to a more purpose-driven workplace.
  3. Delegate Wisely: Effective leaders recognize the power of delegation. Identify tasks that can be delegated to capable team members, freeing up time for leaders to concentrate on strategic, high-impact initiatives. Delegating empowers team members, fosters collaboration, and ensures that leaders direct their energy where it matters most.

Embrace a New Era of Leadership

In a time where intentional, heart-led leadership is needed more than ever, the challenge lies in bridging the gap between the desire to lead effectively and the daily grind of overwhelming responsibilities. It's time for companies and decision-makers to invest in developing their leaders, providing them with the skills and support needed to navigate the complexities of today's business landscape.

“Caring less” is not about neglecting responsibilities; prioritization in leadership is a strategic decision to shed the unnecessary and focus on what truly matters. By embracing this shift in perspective, leaders can navigate workplace challenges with resilience, authenticity, and a commitment to making a meaningful impact.

If your leaders are grappling with prioritization of what matters most, it may be time to support them in developing modern leadership approaches critical to sustained success into the future. Let's connect

Just as I challenge my clients to grow, develop, and progress as intentional leaders and toward their goals, they also challenge me. Through our discussions, I regularly learn new things that are reinforced daily, and I am challenged to continue to embody the coaching mindset (one of the ICF core competencies).

This challenge serves me well, as I ensure to “walk the talk” – both in my work and in my life.

Most recently, a client conversation inspired a discussion, and further consideration, of intention.

The Power of Intention

Intention has always been a major concept and guiding principle for me, both as a leader and as a coach of leaders.

I practiced intentional leadership, wrote about it in my book, and now I help my clients define and practice how to show up and engage with others with intention in their own leadership.

It’s clear that being intentional is a big deal. Being a present, effective, heart-led leader is a defining characteristic. But it doesn’t always have to be a big habit or a big practice.

Being Intentional Can Feel Monumental

In the previously mentioned discussion with my client, our conversation showed me the power of practicing, and demonstrating, micro-moments of intention.

As I’ve written about a number of times, and like I tell all of my clients – being an intentional leader requires thought and planning. Choosing to lead with intention can be time-consuming and detailed. You can feel like you need dedicated time to think, plan, and get ahead of your goals each day.

You spend time considering, “Who can I purposefully engage with today?” and “How can I show up in this meeting to best engage with my team and inspire them to take action to solve XYZ?”

An intentional leader champions their employees, connects with their colleagues, and acts with purpose.

Whew! I’m exhausted just reading that description. It’s true – being an intentional leader does take time, energy, and focus. (And it’s worth it!)

But it doesn’t always have to be so arduous. In fact, there are daily opportunities to practice micro-moments of intention outside of the bigger, more recognizable areas of intention.

Intentional Leaders Embrace the Micro-moments

You’re not always going to have a plan – and that’s okay. The best leaders know how to embrace micro-moments of intention to stand in their power and remain in the driver’s seat of a particular situation.

You can be intentional without a plan! These micro-moments are all about reinforcing your ability to lead with intention at your core, without a pre-planned effort or decision.

To put it another way, these micro-moments help you build an intrinsic, natural reflex and habit of being intentional. They are a powerful addition to your leadership toolkit! And micro-moments help you show your people who you really are.

What do these micro-moments look like in practice? Let’s explore some examples.

A micro-moment of intention can be a:

Choosing Your Own Intentional Micro-moments

Take 3 minutes right now and jot down a few times today when you experienced a potential micro-moment of intention.

Did you choose to act with intention or did you let the moment pass? This isn’t a practice in judgment – it’s about recognizing how often these moments occur and being more aware of how we engage with them.

Invite the micro-moments in and choose to show up with intention. This is how you’ll become the leader you want to be.

Need help understanding how to engage with more intention or improve your skills as an intentional leader? This is exactly what I help my clients with, and I’d love to see how I can help you step into your true leadership potential. Everyone benefits when you lead with compassion, empathy, and intention.

Let’s chat and see what’s possible when we work together. Click here to schedule a free consultation.

We just turned a fresh new page on the calendar, and we are ready to take on the new year. As leaders, specifically female leaders, a new year has us wondering how to start the year strong.

Here’s what I see happening with a lot of women in leadership – you start in the hole, with one arm tied behind your back, feeling like you are already “doing it all” and feeling incapable of adding one more thing to your plate.

You put yourself last, worrying about helping your team and those around you, sacrificing your own career goals in the process.

This is not the picture of a strong start. But it is often reality.

And it leaves many of us wondering how to start the year strong.

That’s why I want to talk about how starting the new year from a position of strength – instead of a position of exhaustion – is the key to hitting your goals, increasing your impact, and finishing 2022 on the best note.

What’s On Your To-Do List?

I have a coaching client who is focused on her career growth. She has big goals and wants to do the things necessary to level up her skills and prepare for upcoming advancement opportunities. But she doesn’t know where to start, because she doesn’t know where she is heading. 

This client hasn’t even taken the first step because she’s so overrun by her day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. She is highly motivated and a high-achiever, but her to-do list runs her day and she feels like she can’t keep up… resulting in her feeling exhausted, defeated, guilty, and further from her goals as each day passes.

Maybe you have experienced what my client is struggling with, too.

Do you find yourself spending all of your energy on checking off to-do items so you feel like you’re contributing… but not actually focusing on the things that actually have the most impact?

You and my client are not alone. In fact, 88% of business people don't accomplish their top three priorities on any given day. Of the time given to a workday, 80% is spent doing tasks with little to no value and only 20% is spent doing something important.

That means almost all of us are struggling with getting the right things done. But why?

You Need to Address Your Priorities

That always-open inbox and never-ending to-do list? Those keep us consistently inundated with smaller, trivial tasks. The constant presence of these insignificant responsibilities draws us in and sucks all our energy.

Want to end the overwhelm and start each day from a position of strength?

You must be intentional in deciding what matters most – with your own goals at the top of the list. 

Your goals and high-impact tasks should drive your day, not the mile-long to-do list of little time-sucking tasks.

When you’re ready to take back control of your day and step into your strength as a leader, there are three steps to take to make sure your overall vision, goals, and priorities are in line.

  1. Redefine
  2. Redesign
  3. Realign

Everything starts with redefining. It’s vital that you have a clear idea of where you want to go before you take off. You can’t work toward a goal without knowing what you’re working for.

When you take the time to redefine, redesign, and realign, you will be confident and ready to strike with the right opportunity coming your way!

How Do I Redefine, Redesign, and Realign?

Taking on these reflections and major life decisions on your own can be daunting.

That’s why I’m here to help you take the first step!

Download my Leadership and Career Dashboard to give you a head start in “redefining” the vision you have for your career & your leadership in the new year.

And when you’re ready to truly accelerate your growth, overcome any challenge, and realign your values to reflect what matters most – consider partnering with a leadership coach and accountability partner to help you get where you want to be!

Click here to schedule a call to discuss what coaching can do for you.

According to the well-known motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, Your life is controlled by what you focus on. So, what if you can’t focus on anything these days? I imagine that life might feel a bit out of control.

This is a big theme across many of my clients right now – the inability to focus. It is fact that COVID-19 and the prolonged uncertainty, worry and stress we are experiencing is impacting the part of our brain that helps us think critically and supports our ability to focus.

Since February, there has been a 300% increase in people searching “how to get your brain to focus”. Add to this our current working environments and the fact that it has never been so easy to get distracted. We are home, spending hours each day in front of our computers on zoom meetings; it is easy to let ourselves get distracted by the dog barking during a meeting, the kids coming in and out of the room, the emails & IM messages popping up on the screen and in my case, the funny shapes of people’s heads when they move too quickly in front of a virtual background.

It is a perfect storm and the result is longer workdays, getting less accomplished!

If you are like so many others, you have a hard time focusing, you are faced with many things that distract you throughout the day and you quickly fall deep into the bad habit of multi-tasking.

You may think you are good at multi-tasking and it may make you feel more productive, but research shows just the opposite. It takes us much longer than expected to get back on task with frequent interruptions and context switching. While sometimes we have to do it, ultimately, we know that to maintain focus and block out distraction, we have to set clear priorities and dedicate blocks of time to certain activities.

Multi-tasking is not a high-performance habit. It prevents us from being fully present and actually makes us less productive.

We can’t eliminate the stressors we are experiencing in our world right now and the prolonged anxiety that has our primitive minds in overdrive, but we can get creative and introduce new approaches to help us regain our attention.

If you find yourself googling “how to focus better”, here are some things you can do to avoid shifting gears and bring your life back into focus and more in control:

  1. Set your day’s intention: Starting your day with clear priorities will improve your productivity and focus and it will also reduce stress and more importantly, help you create better boundaries for your day. Sometime before bed, take a few minutes to write down your intentions for the next day. This simple exercise helps you walk into the next morning clear on your own priorities and allows you to plan your day in support of them.
  2. Find Your Flow: We all have a natural rhythm in a given day to when we are most focused and our energy is the highest. If your day is full of meetings and interruptions, it is hard to get into your flow and realize the benefits of this productive time where you are really “in the zone”. Notice when you are most energized and creative during the day and schedule important tasks & activities that require your full attention during this time.
  3. Block Your Time: Some of the most successful people in the world use time blocking, dedicating specific time “blocks” for certain tasks and responsibilities in a given day. Different than a “to-do” list, time blocking tells you when you are going “to-do” the tasks on your list. Focus is about eliminating distractions. Time blocking allows you to guard against distractions and pursue your own agenda rather than reacting to everyone else’s agenda.
  4. Find an Accountability Partner:  A strong accountability partner will help you stay focused, motivated and on track. It is harder to make excuses as to why you didn’t get something done when you commit to doing it with someone you trust and respect. Find a friend, colleague, coach who will take the time to understand your goals, is willing to support you in achieving those goals and set a standing appointment to check-in on progress.

Lastly, having perspective around the unique place we are in and the fact that a lack of focus is completely normal for so many of us right now should also go a long way in gaining back a sense of control and understanding that it won’t always be this hard.

Try these strategies to help you avoid the trap of multitasking, minimize distractions and regain your focus. But also remember, be kind to yourself, especially now 💜

Tricia Manning © 2024 All Rights Reserved.
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