Where should a leader spend their time?


I’ve been asked this question multiple times. It is a concern for many leaders. Good leaders don’t want to waste a single moment doing tasks that aren’t adding to the bottom line or with assignments that aren’t growing their circle of influence.

I’ve seen many people be promoted to a leadership position that didn’t have a strong character and to them; the position meant that they are done with the hard work part of the job. Nothing is more dangerous than a person who feels like they ‘have arrived’. Abraham Lincoln said, “Anyone can overcome adversity. If you really want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

To avoid being the guy that everyone talks about (the one who sits in his office all day and watches YouTube videos) you need to have a plan, but not just any plan. Anyone can put their head down and work in the business. Great people work ON the business, not necessarily IN the business. That’s why you develop your people. That’s why they depend on you.

In saying all that, back to the important question. Where should a leader spend their time?

People Development – You may have heard of the 20/80 rule. It states that 20% of your people will take up 80% of your time. Many of those you lead require more attention than others. That’s part of a leader’s responsibility. You have to work on training, developing, and sometimes investing your time to mentor them. However, don’t let them become reliant on you. They have to be able to handle situations on their own. A simple formula you can try is the 10/80/10 principle. For the allotted amount of time you plan on spending with a particular person, the first 10% should be to set vision, goals, guidelines, and helping them get going. The next 80% will be them actually working on the vision or goal. The last 10% is where you come in and review how they’ve done, modify behavior, encourage, and help close anything out if necessary.

Personal Growth – People aren’t going to follow someone who isn’t going anywhere. You can always tell where a great leader has been because they leave their footprints in the sands of time. On the other hand, you can always tell where a bad one has been also. The only thing they leave in the sand is their butt prints. Jim Rohn said “You should work harder on yourself than you do your job.”

Number Crunching – This is a small, but vital part in being any kind of influencer. Statistics hardly ever lie. There are always some exceptions, if you look hard enough, but they are far and few in between. If you work with the rule instead of the exception you will be correct most of the time. Something to keep in mind is to MANAGE your paperwork and LEAD your people.

Review and Feedback – People need and deserve to know how they are doing. Good or bad they need to know. If they are making mistakes they need to know what to work on and if they are doing great, they will know what to keep doing. I recently heard John Maxwell do an interview with Darren Hardy. He said,” Some people believe experience is the best teacher. It’s not. It never has been. The best teacher is, EVALUATED experience.”


4 thoughts on “Where should a leader spend their time?

  1. Tracy Boff says:

    Excellent points. I love your point about people are not going to follow someone who is not going anywhere. That is so true and we should never underestimate that people can recognize true ambition over personal agendas.

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