Leading Blog






04.04.07

Tyranny of the Urgent

tyranny of the urgent
It is easy to succumb to the tyranny of the urgent. There is always something competing for our attention. Worse still we might find we have to deal with what Michael Watkins calls pyromaniacs—those people like to create fires for you to put out. The only way out is to get some perspective. In White Hat Leadership, author Ty Warren writes about the importance of making time to disengage:
Part of preparing to lead is recognizing when to step away to recharge. Most of us have experienced the benefits of taking time away from the office (or family) for a few days, then returning with new energy and a better perspective.

Stepping away allows us to work through issues and problems without the stress induced by a sense of urgency. It is usually in these moments of relaxation that we generate objective solutions. We must go away to return with clarity.

Those who feel task saturated are the very people who need to step away most.

Leaders must have time to think or they will likely forfeit their ability to lead. Task saturation causes us to react rather than respond. Reaction is a mechanical, almost involuntary reflex to events. It comes from the primal areas of the brain and does not involve real thought. Response is initiated from the cognitive regions of the brain. Reaction is normal for the task-saturated person; response comes from the leader who makes certain to allocate time for cognitive consideration.
The urgent will always be with us. How we handle it will determine how effective we are. Michael Watkins offers five strategies to help you deal with the urgent on his blog.

Once we begin to let the urgent take over the important we loose perspective and get sucked into a cycle that perpetuates the problem and drains us. Without direction, we mistakenly find ourselves trying to compensate by going twice as fast. We must take time out to think. The perspective you gain will help you to handle everything you do better.

Are you part of the problem? Do you create fires for others to put out? Take the “Are you a pyromaniac?” quiz.

Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:51 PM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Leadership , Personal Development



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