Much of what a leader does can seem unproductive at times.
For someone wired for production—progress,checklist completion—even wasted.
I’ll admit, even though I know this in my leadership knowledge, I have to discipline myself to practice them sometimes.
Yet, every good leader I know specializes in intangible actions that don’t always produce visible, immediate results.
In fact, these actions are probably the most productive part of their work.
In order for the team to thrive, there are things that may seem unproductive that the leader must spend time doing.
Let me share some examples from my own leadership.
Here are seven intangible things I try to do each day:
Praying. Did I need to share that one? And yet, I do. For my reminder and most leaders I know. Yes, even pastors. We can get so busy making decisions, putting out fires and handling routines that we fail to stop and pray. What could be happening in our leadership if we spent more time praying? (That’s a sobering question.)
Thinking. Leader, how much time do you spend just thinking? I’m not talking about daydreaming on mindless things, but this intangible action could also be titled dreaming. I’m talking about disciplined thinking about where we are, where we are going, what’s working, what’s not working. I need those times every single day. Often new ideas hit me in the shower or driving in my car, but many times new ideas are only shaped and realized when I set aside quantity time to brainstorm.
Reading. I don’t know why—even as I teach these principles—it has always made me feel uncomfortable when someone who works with me finds me reading a magazine or a book. I feel so unproductive. But I know the more responsibility a leader assumes, the more important it is that he or she be exposed to new ideas and thoughts. Leaders are readers. I don’t always get something I can immediately put into practice, but my mind is stretched and my thoughts are energized. Valuable. Gold in many cases. (As a practice, I try to read one chapter a day from some book—other than the Bible.)