Updated: May 1, 2022
It’s May 1st! When I looked at my phone and saw the date this morning, I could hardly believe it! It seems like time is just flying by!
As a leader, I’m sure you feel like that too. Too many things to do, and not enough time to do them in: Board reports to oversee, shareholder results to insure, and goals and targets to meet, and then there are those extra-added requests from your boss…and from your team members. The pressure of working under tight deadlines and timelines can result in so much stress that you might not act or react to people as kindly as you’d - or they - would like. And that’s a problem.
First of all, because no one wants to be treated unkindly, and second of all, because those who follow you take their lead for how to react under time pressures from you!! If you don’t act and react kindly when you are under time pressures, they won’t either.
Today, I thought I‘d give you some practical ideas to use to Lead with Kindness when under time pressure and constraints.
Pay close attention to your stress cues (clenching your jaw, hunching your shoulders or feeling like your heart is racing). When you notice you are stressed, check your calendar and see if there’s a relationship. Too many deadlines or projects due at the same time can result in too much stress. Then, instead of suffering in silence or taking your stress out on others, ask your leader to help you prioritize. See if deadlines can be changed, or some work eliminated or postponed. Often deadlines aren’t set in stone, even if you think they are.
When time is tight and you are feeling stressed, tell those you lead how you are feeling and why. They aren’t mind readers, and if you don’t let them know what you are working on, they probably don’t know. Saying, “I‘m feeling stressed because I have two important deadlines on Friday,” will help people understand why you might be shorter with them than usual. Asking people to give you feedback on tone of voice, body language or unkind words that you use when you are pressed for time can also help you choose kinder ones.
Consciously and deliberately slow down. Put time on your calendar for breaks to stretch and do things that are relaxing and calming for you. Slowing down will help you relax and focus…and it will actually speed up the work you need to get done. Spend time with those you lead checking their calendars and levels of stress. When you find they are too high, help them reprioritize and take things off their plate.
Truth is, everyone has the same amount of time every day: 24 hours. As a leader, one of the kindest things you can do with your time is to help those you lead learn how to handle the stress and pressure of deadlines and time constraints in positive, kind ways. That will help them as individuals, members of your organization and members of society.
Are your leaders acting unkindly because of time pressures? Then please join this month’s Kind Leader Community Conversation on What Can We Do When Leaders Aren’t Kind! It’s on May 10th and it’s free!