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How to Defeat the Tyranny of the Urgent

There’s an emerging currency for leaders.

This new currency has the ability to differentiate leaders and set them on an accelerated course toward success.

Think for a minute about what currency is and how it’s used. Currency is something you exchange for something that’s valuable to or needed by you. You exchange cash for your favorite latte at Starbucks or to fill your car with gas. Currency facilitates a transaction and results in you getting something valuable back.

There’s an emerging currency for leaders that, if accumulated, can really start to separate and allow the leader to deliver more and more value.

The Emerging Leadership Currency of Capacity

I’m not talking about capacity the way we normally do. This isn’t referring to a unit of measure in your capacity model. This isn’t explicitly talking about time. This isn’t just about how much of something you need in order to get something done. That’s not capacity in this context.

Capacity in this context is the ability to work smart. It’s the ability to create space in your brain to focus on the work that matters the most and start to control and minimize the impact of the tyranny of the urgent. 

Capacity isn’t about working harder. It’s about learning to work smarter so you can get more and more high-impact, high-value work done. Leaders who create more of this type of capacity will differentiate themselves from those around them. Capacity in this context is the ability to work smart.

How to Defeat the Tyranny of the Urgent

The tyranny of the urgent dominates us. This means that we have little to no time to spend on important work. It either doesn’t get done or moves into the urgent category.

This is an exhausting and frustrating place to live as an organizational leader. Our ability to create capacity becomes the superpower we can leverage to battle the tyranny of the urgent.

This type of capacity CAN be created. We can learn to work smarter, through intentional effort. 

Creating this type of capacity requires investment to drive up two components: Capabilities and emotional intelligence. 

The more we drive up and develop our capabilities in addition to driving up our emotional intelligence skills will result in our ability to create more and more capacity. As a result, we have more space to think about and drive action to get the important high-impact, high-value work done.

The Capabilities of How to Defeat the Tyranny of the Urgent

Are you investing in yourself to develop your leadership skills? Are you investing time to drive up your capabilities so you become increasingly more effective and efficient at what you do? Are you engaging your team to help them develop their capabilities so they can work smarter?

Your capabilities are simply your abilities to do things. These are your inventories of skills, abilities, experience, strengths, knowledge, etc. These are what you bring to the table every day and what you leverage to get your work done.

It’s important to understand that capabilities can be developed and enhanced. You can learn to improve the capabilities you have today and develop new capabilities to support your responsibilities and aspirations. You aren’t stuck where you are. These can be developed.

The more you develop, enhance and learn new capabilities, the more effectively and efficiently you work. This allows you to create capacity and learn to work smarter. As you learn to work smarter, you’ll create more space to think about and drive action on the important work on your to-do list.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is our ability to recognize, read and respond. Think about your experience, either personally or through someone else, where they negatively impacted their influence as a leader because of the lack of self-awareness, social awareness, or self-regulation. I once had a mentor who would constantly remind me that we’re all “one dumb decision away from blowing it.” 

From a capacity perspective, think about all the chaos and inefficiency on your team caused by the lack of emotional intelligence. Conflict, miscommunications, interpersonal tensions, lack of engagement, and other factors all stem from a lack of emotional intelligence skills.

Driving up emotional intelligence as a manager and for your team helps to minimize the chaos, confusion, noise, and distraction caused by the impact of a low emotionally intelligent environment.

Minimizing or eliminating these activities helps you as the leader create capacity so you can focus on the important tasks you need to drive as a team.

The capacity allows you to free up space that otherwise would be consumed by the tyranny of the urgent and to focus on other manager activities that need your attention.

Focus on ways you can increase your leadership capabilities and emotional intelligence skills. These both allow you to start working smarter and create the type of capacity that unlocks your ability to focus on the work that really matters and drives value for you personally, your team, and your organization.

To start driving your personal and team capabilities learn more about how Wildsparq partners with organizations to develop their leaders.