Skill Level Advanced
- There once was a new engineer managing the building of a bridge across a stream. He was new, he thought the team should see him working alongside them, so he rolled up his sleeves and grabbed a shovel. The team was making great progress, the team was really respecting his work ethic, he wasn't afraid to get dirty. After a while, the young engineer's boss visited, and he motioned for him to follow him up the hill, where they sat under a tree. The boss lights a cigar and just smokes quietly, saying nothing, and the young engineer begins to grow a little uncomfortable. Why isn't he sayin' somethin'? More time passes, more silence. Then, the young engineer noticed somethin', and mumbled under his breath, "I think we should've placed the bridge "a little further upstream where it's narrower." The boss looked at him and said, "Exactly!" And walked away. You know the lesson here, right? The young engineer lost the perspective to lead his team because he was too close to the work. I know you can relate, so let's get you to step back, slow down, and use solitude for introspection. This will help you make better decisions. It's important that you learn how to be alone with your thoughts. This means less stuff on your to-do list. A Stanford study found people do not and cannot multitask effectively. If you're still not sure, think about Warren Buffett, who has very few commitments on his calendar. Buffett knows the one thing he can't buy is time. It's also important that you become a really good listener. Learn to listen. This is a necessary discipline of a good leader, it's more than being quiet, it's listening for the unheard. The unheard, the stuff people you lead don't directly say, can be their values, assumptions, beliefs, expectations, their pains unexpressed, complaints not spoken, and their feelings. It's also important that you read regularly. Charlie Tremendous Jones famously said, "You will be the same person in five years "as you are today except for the people you meet "and the books you read." Great books stand the test of time because they clear out the clutter of today's noise and can provide a different perspective to a dilemma or issue. When you take these steps, you'll have more time to make decisions that will positively alter the organization for months and years instead of hours and days.