A senior colleague of mine asked this tricky question many years ago. Made me thinking: should it be in her sport shoes? Have a healthy life! – is this the moral of the question? Or maybe the leader should walk between the desks of his colleagues? As a leader it’s important to stay in touch with your team every day. Once a week for sure is not enough! Hmmm… maybe like the businessman character played by Richard Gere in Pretty Woman: walk bare foot in the grass? It certainly has a nice stress-releasing impact so I guessed that was it.
“Nope. On his own desk!” surprising reply. „Once a week, each leader needs at least half an hour to rise above the daily stress. Lean back, put your shoes on your desk and have a view on the Bigger Picture. Ignore for a moment the issues at hand, view at your team and your own work in a broader context.”
We are all orienteers!
Our tasks demand our attention to details. It’s like the orieteer who is running on an uneven surface, focusing her attention to the next couple of meters to avoid falling. To avoid “falling” we also focus on the details of our tasks in front of us.
Nevertheless the orienteer has to raise her sight to see where is she heading. If she doesn’t do this, keeps focusing on the meters ahead of her she can lose her way – will not reach what she wants to. From time to time she needs to stop for a short period of time, look around and adjust her run towards to goal.
It’s not different with leaders: if they focus on the tasks in front of them then on one hand the chance to mistakes drops. However, if they fail to “raise their eyes”, if they do not consider the bigger picture, the goals they want to reach they can easily lead their team to the wrong place. Hence they also need to stop from time to time and raise their sight from the tasks in from of them.
Of course “raising our eyes” from the everyday business is not at all only for leaders. All of us are leaders of our own life, we all need to “put our feet to the top of our table”, to plan and to dream ignoring our current problems for a moment.
Of course the top of the table is not relevant either. For some it’s running, for others it’s fishing or golfing or gardening gives the chance to get out of the daily tasks and think through what she wants to achieve and where we she wants to go. What is important is to have such an occasion. Regularly, based on our experience once a week, at least 30 minutes. And if you do not have such an occasion, we suggest to get started with the top of your desk or take a barefoot walk on the grass. 🙂
If you would like to understand how weekly planning fits into a broader picture of self-mastery or you have challenges to put this into practice, please get in touch with us here.