All leaders most likely view themselves as jugglers. Who could blame them when there are always multiple areas to address and the fact that the buck stops with them when it comes to making big decisions? Here are just a few:
- Professional learning
The act of juggling requires concentration and focus. If you place all your attention on one ball, the chances of keeping the rest in the air are very slim. If you watch any juggler, you will see that person looking straight ahead. The reason for this is to veer away from focusing on the movement of each individual ball, with the goal being to keep them all in the air. Basically, a juggler does not focus on the balls as separate entities but instead as a whole.
It is natural to want to be and do everything as a leader. While the intention is positive, it is difficult, if not impossible, to put the needed effort into multiple moving parts. Instead, the rule of thumb should be to do one thing exceptionally well before dedicating time and energy elsewhere. The question that then needs to be answered is, are you juggling or leading? The best leaders de-emphasize multitasking and attempting to keep everything in the air. They instead clearly visualize the most pressing and vital ball and prioritize one thing at a time. Juggling is secondary, while the ball in front of them is primary.
It is hard to lead if you are constantly juggling. Consider the following to help keep your eye on the ball:
- Honesty is the best policy. Know what you can handle in an effort to avoid stress, burnout, or things falling through the cracks.
- Make responsibilities clear. Think about what is needed in terms of time and resources. Leverage the power of delegation to empower others to focus on and attend to balls that are constantly in the air. Everything needs to be clarified.
- Prioritize to ensure success. Don’t shy away from dumping non-essential items.
- Seek advice. There is no reason to go at it alone. Be sure to elicit the counsel of those you trust.
- Plan accordingly. Never discount the importance of a strategic plan that takes into account all the elements listed above.
If you want to be a juggler, keep that as a hobby. As a leader, zero in on the ball that is of the utmost importance to help you move change forward, support and empower your staff, and become the best iteration of yourself.