By Saskia Kremer, Business Counsellor, Productivity and time-management trainer

Do you know where your greatest strength lies?

How often do you end up doing the tasks you assigned to someone else in the team?

Having worked with (team) managers, business owners and directors over the past 10 years I have seen so many of them worn out, overwhelmed by the emergencies and demands from the team or the business. Hardly anyone took time out to reflect on their own performance, where they want to go and how to design a robust strategy to get there.

No time to evaluate what was happening. No time to consider what works for them and what not, puzzled by the underlying dynamics which keep popping up.

Wondering what their focus should be, not only in running the business, but also at the personal level.

And so tasks become unclear, work starts to pile up and stress becomes unbearable.

Have you been there?

As counselor and trained in realistic philosophy, I am always amazed to see the power of asking the right question. This allows for clarity and focus on what is really important so productivity and performance can be enhanced.

When I help clients shift from busy but unproductive weeks of exhaustion to proper time management, allowing them to free up head space and time, someone manages to add 20% value to a property transaction and another guy boosts profits by 300K. Those results are very tangible!

I rejoice when people say they never felt so relaxed before taking annual leave, or extending their weekend by a few days, because they felt everything was under control.

Just think of it. If they can, you can, you and your team can.

As a leader you bring your whole personality to the table: your qualities, your strengths, also your weaknesses and challenges, your habits and your own way of communicating. You bring in your past experiences, the lessons you have learned, your successes and your life lessons.

If you want to use of all of this to your own benefit and the benefit of others, you need to know and acknowledge what specifically shaped you to become the person you are today. Thus you can turn your knowledge and experience into a super power, inspiring others to grow themselves as well as the company.

When you try to act a different person at work than you are at home, tension starts to build up and your authenticity is suffering.

It creates confusion and a confused brain does not take any meaningful action. It takes a clear mind to generate new ideas and turn them into action, guiding those who depend on you.

As a leader you should take full ownership of who you are and what you do and don’t, or risk becoming a burden to the people you work with, affecting their growth and performance.

Why is it so important to know yourself before you can lead others?

⁃ knowing your own strengths and weaknesses allows you to create a high performance team

⁃ clear boundaries, tasks and responsibilities create a safe environment for all, releasing creativity and productivity

⁃ knowing your own way of communicating and how others communicate drives team work and better performance

Yes, for a leader, a managing Director or business owner the standard does not have to be overwhelm and responding to other people’s emergencies!

Here are some tips to help you start turning things around:

Start with a brain dump to allow more head space and close all those ‘open files’ so you can calm down

Create time at the end of your working day to:

  • evaluate: the results of your action, how well did you communicate, how did you and your team perform? What could you have done better?
  • plan: what needs to be rescheduled? What should your priority and main focus be for tomorrow?
  • Start the new working day with ‘focused time’: the one task which has the biggest impact. Make sure to ‘guard’ this time, it will be key to your inner motivation and satisfaction
  • Know where your main strength is and start delegating tasks which are not part of your core strength