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What should you be making time for?
Episode 1225th August 2022 • How to Take the Lead • Lee Griffith and Carrie-Ann Wade
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In the series one finale of How To Take The Lead we consider what you should be making time for as a leader. It’s a question we both get asked a lot so we share our views on what to prioritise and how to protect your time. 

We share our thoughts, experiences and learning, including:

·       03:03 – expectation versus reality

·       09:46 – the value of protected time

·       17:30 – what should you be doing with your protected time

·       22:33 – the importance of boundary setting

·       34:30 – do you have to be the doer?

·       41:15 – how to make the most of your time

Our top takeaways in this episode include practical tips to manage your time, boundary setting and reframing guilt.

If you enjoyed this episode why not subscribe to the podcast. We would love it if you left us a rating or review and feel free to share the link to this episode with anyone else you think would find it interesting, using #HowToTakeTheLead

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You can find out more about Lee Griffith via www.sundayskies.com and about Carrie-Ann Wade at www.cats-pajamas.co.uk

Get social with us via:

Lee on LinkedInTwitter and Instagram.

Carrie-Ann on LinkedInTwitter and Instagram.

Transcripts

Carrie-Ann:

I think I probably had a vision when I was in my early

Carrie-Ann:

twenties that if I got into a senior position, I might even have time

Carrie-Ann:

to be sat having my nails painted and reading Grazia in my day.

Lee:

Hello and welcome to episode 12, the end of season.

Lee:

Well, it's not actually the end of season and I'll explain that

Lee:

at the end of this episode.

Lee:

So let's not get confused there, but it is the kind of end of the main season

Carrie-Ann:

It's our last sort of formal episode of the series.

Carrie-Ann:

Isn't it?

Carrie-Ann:

I can't believe we are on episode 12 already that this is like the longest

Carrie-Ann:

series of How to Take the Lead that we've ever run first one on the podcast.

Carrie-Ann:

And we're already sat here recording episode 12.

Carrie-Ann:

I dunno how that's happened.

Lee:

I know and well done to any of you that's stuck with

Lee:

us through the whole series.

Lee:

Make yourselves known.

Lee:

We need to celebrate you somehow.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, I love that.

Carrie-Ann:

Make yourselves known if you stuck with us through thick and thin to make

Carrie-Ann:

it to the end of this series, tell us so that we can thank you personally.

Carrie-Ann:

We'd love to do that.

Lee:

So we've covered a huge range of topics in this series.

Lee:

And today I wanted to have a bit of.

Lee:

It's a serious topic, but it's, it's perhaps not as serious as some of the

Lee:

other ones we've had, but it's one that I've been exploring a lot and having a

Lee:

lot of conversations about recently, and that's about self management as a leader.

Lee:

So for me, If you're gonna make the right impact as a leader, you

Lee:

need to be able to manage yourself.

Lee:

And we've spoken before about that struggle between operational and

Lee:

strategic, getting down into the weeds.

Lee:

And we've mentioned all those expectations of leaders, the more senior they

Lee:

get and the more they move away from perhaps their specialist field, and

Lee:

everyone suddenly wants a piece of you.

Lee:

So we recognize it can become really overwhelming as a leader.

Lee:

But we also know the truth is how you manage yourself, sets the tone and is

Lee:

a precedent for everyone else, how they treat you and how they manage themselves

Lee:

and how they manage their teams as well.

Lee:

So it is a really important part of leadership, but I don't

Lee:

think we talk about enough.

Lee:

So today I want to talk about what a leader should be spending their time on.

Lee:

And I want to start by asking you Carrie Ann about the expectation versus the

Lee:

reality in your career as you've developed as a leader, what have you learned?

Carrie-Ann:

Gosh, that's that feels like a big question.

Carrie-Ann:

And I do agree with you.

Carrie-Ann:

It's not that like this topic, isn't something that we talk about enough

Carrie-Ann:

and I think you learn that t hrough your journey to being a leader, because

Carrie-Ann:

once you get into leadership positions, you realize sometimes that you are a

Carrie-Ann:

bit ill prepared for how many demands there are gonna be on your time and

Carrie-Ann:

what those demands might look like.

Carrie-Ann:

So I definitely personally noticed the amount of meetings increased

Carrie-Ann:

significantly in terms of expectations of where I would be and how I

Carrie-Ann:

would spend my time as a leader.

Carrie-Ann:

And the bit that I think probably took me by surprise around that was around the

Carrie-Ann:

amount of prep time that you also need to build into your leadership life to be able

Carrie-Ann:

to manage your input into those meetings.

Carrie-Ann:

Because I think once you become a leader in an organization For me, it

Carrie-Ann:

feels like there's more expectation on you to go beyond your own

Carrie-Ann:

professional background and your own professional sphere of knowledge.

Carrie-Ann:

So you are going to be in meetings where you're going to be expected to

Carrie-Ann:

have a view on finances HR operational issues that perhaps are outside of

Carrie-Ann:

your, your immediate profession.

Carrie-Ann:

And so actually you do have to be really prepped to go into those meetings.

Carrie-Ann:

You can't wing it and go, all right the papers came out last week, but I'm just

Carrie-Ann:

gonna open them five minutes before the meeting, because people will expect you

Carrie-Ann:

to have a view and input on those topics.

Carrie-Ann:

So for me, that definitely has an impact, I think, around self management

Carrie-Ann:

and how I spend my time as a leader or needed to start spending my time.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think there was also something for me as, as you were talking and, and

Carrie-Ann:

giving that sort of context to the episode where I was thinking about that balance

Carrie-Ann:

of time between knowing that your role as a leader is to be more strategic perhaps

Carrie-Ann:

you'd been in previous roles and to have that strategic focus that forward look.

Carrie-Ann:

That bigger picture position and, and, and head space and thinking.

Carrie-Ann:

But also we've talked so much about building connection and relationships

Carrie-Ann:

and the importance of those throughout this series of how to take the lead.

Carrie-Ann:

So there's also something about needing to be visible in your

Carrie-Ann:

organization, in your team.

Carrie-Ann:

So how do you strike that balance of having enough time to have that strategic

Carrie-Ann:

thinking, be part of those strategic conversations, lead those strategic

Carrie-Ann:

sessions versus being out and about understanding what it's like to be part

Carrie-Ann:

of your team and your organization.

Carrie-Ann:

So, yeah, they were kind of the first things that sprang to mind Lee..

Carrie-Ann:

But again, interested to flip that back on you and hear what what it's

Carrie-Ann:

been like for you in your journey and what realizations you came to

Carrie-Ann:

around expectations on you as a leader?

Lee:

I think the two that probably stick with me was one that sense of

Lee:

when you are quite junior in post, you always want to be more senior or be

Lee:

the manager, cuz you can be in control and you can have more control of your

Lee:

time and control of the demands of you.

Lee:

And there's almost like the grass is greener attitude isn't there.

Lee:

And then when you get into those roles, actually, you don't have as

Lee:

much control as you think you have.

Lee:

And it can be frustrating when other people perhaps are judging

Lee:

how you choose to spend your time or don't respect your time.

Lee:

So that overall of your plans, for example, and, and I'm sure a lot of

Lee:

people can recognize the phone call from chief exec's PA saying, oh you just

Lee:

need to clear a diary cuz X now takes takes priority or whatever it might be.

Lee:

And I think, I thought I'd have a lot more control than, than I did.

Lee:

I mean, we'll get onto this a bit bit later about what you can do if

Lee:

you feel in that type of situation.

Lee:

but I think the flip side to that also is the more you give,

Lee:

the more people will take.

Lee:

So there isn't ever this perfect situation or this point where people around you

Lee:

or your manager or your CEO says, do you know what they've done enough?

Lee:

I'm not gonna give them more work.

Lee:

They, you know, they're managing it all.

Lee:

It doesn't.

Lee:

If, if you, if you deliver, you get more to deliver and if you cram it all

Lee:

in, in your day, they'll give you more.

Lee:

That's always stuff coming at you.

Lee:

And there comes a point of realization where you think.

Lee:

I could just keep flogging and flogging and flogging myself.

Lee:

Is it worth it because it's gonna be relentless and it's never gonna stop.

Lee:

And that was quite a sobering moment.

Lee:

When you realize that you are never gonna voluntarily come off of the,

Lee:

the treadmill that you are on, you've got to take control of it.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

I mean, I, I absolutely agree you, it made me chuckle cuz you're so right.

Carrie-Ann:

Is the, your CEO or whoever it is, that is dictating some of your

Carrie-Ann:

priorities or most of your priorities and workload is just gonna keep, you

Carrie-Ann:

know, that work's not going away.

Carrie-Ann:

It's just gonna keep coming.

Carrie-Ann:

I absolutely agree with that.

Carrie-Ann:

And I guess as I'm listening to this, I'm sat here thinking

Carrie-Ann:

why do I wanna be a leader?

Carrie-Ann:

This sounds hideous.

Carrie-Ann:

I do think you are absolutely right.

Carrie-Ann:

You don't get as much control over your own time as you think you will before

Carrie-Ann:

you've reached those senior positions.

Carrie-Ann:

I think I probably had a vision when I was in my early twenties that if I got

Carrie-Ann:

into a senior position, I might even have time to be sat having my nails

Carrie-Ann:

painted and reading Grazia in my day.

Carrie-Ann:

Cuz I'd be able to, to decide what I spent my time on.

Lee:

Just get your people to do

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, it absolutely isn't like that at all.

Lee:

No, but I think and we are gonna cover this a bit later in

Lee:

this discussion, but I do think you can do stuff about that.

Lee:

It isn't a case of, well, we, we just need to suck it up.

Lee:

It can feel like that sometimes, but I think there's a maturity point

Lee:

that you reach where you realize that actually you need to start setting your

Lee:

own boundaries and stuff like that.

Lee:

And I won't delve too deeply into that now.

Lee:

Cause I do want us to talk about it a bit more.

Lee:

I think that concept of competing priorities is something that in every

Lee:

single organization that you go to, you are going to see in different guises.

Lee:

And one of the common issues that I see and I've experienced is that

Lee:

feeling that as a leader, you perhaps need to put everyone else first.

Lee:

Someone more senior asks you for something, if your team needs support

Lee:

or that sense of protected time that we talk about leaders needing isn't

Lee:

really protected because it tends to be the first thing you give away when

Lee:

things crop up or people need help.

Lee:

And I've seen this happen so many times.

Lee:

I'm gonna move my coaching session because I don't have the time I'm

Lee:

gonna cancel that training because I need to complete that piece of work.

Lee:

I can't find the time to write the strategy because I need to be, or I'm

Lee:

gonna be in back to back meetings.

Lee:

I know I need to sort the team out, but we are so busy.

Lee:

We're never gonna get around to doing it.

Lee:

And it's almost like protected time has no value.

Lee:

I want to explore or emphasize why protected time is important and the value

Lee:

it does actually add to your leadership.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, it is really important.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think it's really closely linked to boundary setting and how you set those

Carrie-Ann:

boundaries, which we sort of touched on already in the conversation because you

Carrie-Ann:

know, for me, and I'm not perfect at this.

Carrie-Ann:

Absolutely not.

Carrie-Ann:

And I have weeks and weeks that go by where I don't role model my own

Carrie-Ann:

things that I tell other people to do.

Carrie-Ann:

But then once I get back into the habit of it, actually I find it really helpful

Carrie-Ann:

to do so for me, there's something about about that time blocking and actually

Carrie-Ann:

putting into your diary that protected time, and maybe you badge it up as

Carrie-Ann:

something else that other people won't think it's easy to move on your behalf.

Carrie-Ann:

Maybe you put it in your diary as, as time to complete actual pieces of work

Carrie-Ann:

or have that reflective thinking time.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think the more you can get into the habit of doing that on a

Carrie-Ann:

regular basis the more you then manage yourself that way, if that makes sense.

Carrie-Ann:

Like, I got really into time blocking for a bit and I haven't done it for about

Carrie-Ann:

three weeks and I, I actually do feel a bit out of control through not doing it.

Carrie-Ann:

So I'm like, right.

Carrie-Ann:

I must do that because actually I'm kind of setting some boundaries with my own

Carrie-Ann:

self around how I'm gonna spend my time.

Lee:

Can I give you a top tip

Carrie-Ann:

Yes, please.

Lee:

And this is something that actually, my coach taught me many, many years

Lee:

ago, and it's often we protect time to do a piece of work, like you've just

Lee:

said, but then we get to the time and procrastination can strike or because

Lee:

we haven't prepared adequately for how we're going to use the protected time.

Lee:

So one of the things that I learnt in my corporate life that I continue is building

Lee:

that almost that folder of resources so that I've got everything ready

Lee:

for when I reach that protected time.

Lee:

So if I need to do research or reading or any documents that I might need to

Lee:

write that strategy paper, or to write that board paper or whatever it might be.

Lee:

I'll have been in touch with people in advance and got their responses

Lee:

and everything saved in one space.

Lee:

So I've got no need to suddenly in that protected space, jump on

Lee:

the internet to do any research.

Lee:

I don't need to go into my emails to contact anyone.

Lee:

I don't need anything that might be a potential procrastination

Lee:

or distraction I've already dealt with because it's all there.

Lee:

And it makes that protected time, so much more valuable and focused.

Carrie-Ann:

Oh, I love that.

Carrie-Ann:

I think that's a really good tip.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and I would build on that.

Carrie-Ann:

You mentioned about that you don't have to duck into your emails.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm getting much better at shutting down my email cuz that's one of the

Carrie-Ann:

things that happens with me, something pops up and then it's my boss saying.

Carrie-Ann:

Oh, what's happening with this and I'm oh, I better respond to that

Carrie-Ann:

straight way cause it's the chief exec.

Carrie-Ann:

Oh, it's one of my team.

Carrie-Ann:

They need help with this.

Carrie-Ann:

Actually just close it down, so you can't be distracted by those things that feel

Carrie-Ann:

like they need an immediate response.

Carrie-Ann:

If I have days where I am in lots of meetings or I have put protected

Carrie-Ann:

time in to do specific pieces of work, I actually set my out of office

Carrie-Ann:

to say, I'm not available today.

Carrie-Ann:

So that actually people know that not to expect a response from me straight

Carrie-Ann:

away, I find that's quite helpful, but I, I definitely think there is

Carrie-Ann:

something about that clarity on your own boundaries and understanding why you

Carrie-Ann:

want to set that protected time in the first place, and then trying as best as

Carrie-Ann:

you can to stick to those boundaries.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think part of that is because it does start to eat

Carrie-Ann:

into your personal life as well.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think if you respond to everything that comes in immediately and you don't

Carrie-Ann:

stick to some of those boundaries, you've set and you don't say right, my

Carrie-Ann:

non-negotiable things that I need to deliver this week, or today are these two

Carrie-Ann:

or three things and keep bringing back to that focus on those non-negotiables that

Carrie-Ann:

for you are gonna help move you forward into the next week, into the next month.

Carrie-Ann:

Whatever.

Carrie-Ann:

I, I think if you don't stick to your boundaries around that, you end up filling

Carrie-Ann:

your working day with all of those things that feel like quick wins, cuz they're

Carrie-Ann:

quite immediate and it's meeting other people's needs and then you eat into

Carrie-Ann:

home life time by trying to catch up on those things that you said at the

Carrie-Ann:

start of the week were non-negotiable.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think for me, it's back to your point, you mentioned it at

Carrie-Ann:

the start about role modeling.

Carrie-Ann:

I think how you start to manage yourself and your time, really role

Carrie-Ann:

models to others what's acceptable.

Carrie-Ann:

And actually it might well be your choice, but if you are constantly

Carrie-Ann:

sending people stuff at nine, 10 o'clock at night, every night, more

Carrie-Ann:

junior people to you feel like that's the norm, that's the acceptable norm.

Carrie-Ann:

And

Lee:

It creates a

Carrie-Ann:

that's Yeah, that's actually not fair.

Carrie-Ann:

And I've been there in the days of the blackberry and I hadn't worked

Carrie-Ann:

out you could turn the noise off, but I hadn't worked out you

Carrie-Ann:

could turn the flashing light off.

Carrie-Ann:

And I remember being sat a few times nine o'clock at night, seeing it flashing on

Carrie-Ann:

the table, thinking, oh, I better check.

Carrie-Ann:

Oh, it's an email from my boss.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm feeling the pressure now to respond to that now because I've read it.

Carrie-Ann:

And because they're sending it at that time, they expect

Carrie-Ann:

me to respond at that time.

Carrie-Ann:

So I do just think you need to be really careful with that role modeling,

Carrie-Ann:

cuz you're creating a culture that isn't fair and isn't sustainable for

Carrie-Ann:

other people as well as yourself.

Lee:

Yeah.

Lee:

I mean, I always say boundaries is the standard that you

Lee:

set for everyone, basically.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, absolutely agree

Lee:

I think if you don't have protected time to work on the things that matter

Lee:

most to you in the business, then you're actually doing real harm to

Lee:

the business in one way or another.

Lee:

So you are either not gonna be progressing the strategic direction.

Lee:

You won't be innovating or bringing fresh thinking into the workplace.

Lee:

If you are really down into the weeds, then you're probably micromanaging or

Lee:

working at a level down that's impacting team morale or trust things that

Lee:

we've mentioned in previous episodes.

Lee:

And all of that has a knock on effect for performance.

Lee:

And then you think about those people who perhaps are working smartly

Lee:

strategically have that protected time.

Lee:

They're gonna be the ones that are progressing and

Lee:

improving and rising to the top.

Lee:

And so actually before you know it, if you stay in a state of firefighting,

Lee:

Working at an operational level.

Lee:

When, as a leader, you need to be having the bigger picture in hand

Lee:

you're doing yourself as a leader an injustice, and you're doing

Lee:

your organization an injustice.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, I absolutely agree with you and there's also that thing

Carrie-Ann:

about, back to that role modeling, but it's about, trusting the people

Carrie-Ann:

whose job it is to do certain things, to do them, to enable you to

Carrie-Ann:

get on and do what you need to do.

Carrie-Ann:

And actually, if you're one of those people who feels like you have to squash

Carrie-Ann:

everything into the day and be all over everything, that that actually is a

Carrie-Ann:

detrimental effect on other people as.

Lee:

Mm.

Lee:

So what should you be protecting your time for as a leader?

Lee:

We've spoken about why protecting your time is important and the impacts it can

Lee:

have, but what do you do with your time?

Lee:

If it's protected?

Carrie-Ann:

Well, I think as a leader, obviously your focus

Carrie-Ann:

has got to be more strategic.

Carrie-Ann:

So thinking about what are the things that you are working on that are help

Carrie-Ann:

setting the strategy and delivering the strategy for the organization.

Carrie-Ann:

So for that, obviously be clear on your vision, mission purpose, absolutely.

Carrie-Ann:

I think there'll be things that come in that are priorities for you.

Carrie-Ann:

So it might be something that comes in around like a crisis that needs

Carrie-Ann:

to be managed or a reputational issue should definitely be things that you

Carrie-Ann:

should be prioritizing if they happen.

Carrie-Ann:

But I also think there's something about developmental stuff.

Carrie-Ann:

So you've touched on it already.

Carrie-Ann:

It's development of self.

Carrie-Ann:

I think that's really important and it can be one of the things we neglect to, to do

Carrie-Ann:

and spend time on as a leader, we usually push that to the bottom of our pile.

Carrie-Ann:

But like you say, if you want to deliver the best for your team and

Carrie-Ann:

your organization, then you have to be constantly learning and evolving

Carrie-Ann:

yourself so that you can spread that and share that in your organization.

Carrie-Ann:

I think you should be focusing your time on the development of your team.

Carrie-Ann:

So if you are in a leadership team, the development of that leadership team,

Carrie-Ann:

building those relationships with people.

Carrie-Ann:

And development of the organization, what, you know, are

Carrie-Ann:

you doing that horizon scanning?

Carrie-Ann:

Are you on top of what needs to happen next to take your

Carrie-Ann:

organization to the next level?

Carrie-Ann:

So I think there's lots of bigger picture stuff that you definitely need

Carrie-Ann:

to be focusing your time on as a leader.

Carrie-Ann:

And if you don't protect that time it's not there for you to do it.

Carrie-Ann:

But again, I caveat that with the balance of, you know, one of the things

Carrie-Ann:

we heard through the modern leader report that we pulled together was that need

Carrie-Ann:

for visible, compassionate leaders who understand where people in their

Carrie-Ann:

teams and organizations are coming from.

Carrie-Ann:

So you do want to have those touchpoint with your organization

Carrie-Ann:

and prioritize those as well.

Carrie-Ann:

But I think it's about getting the balance right.

Carrie-Ann:

Of walking the floor, but also having that strategic Element to

Carrie-Ann:

what you're doing with your time.

Lee:

I mean building relationships is such an important part.

Lee:

It's not an add on.

Lee:

It's not a nice to have I would say you need to be dedicated at least 40% of

Lee:

your time on building those relationships externally, as well as in internally, I,

Lee:

I think from a team development point of view, that's really important as well,

Lee:

but I also think you are there as an UN blocker for the team and that's part

Lee:

of your role isn't it as the senior leader, you are there to help move

Lee:

things forward in one way or another.

Lee:

And those are the actions you should be focusing on rather than perhaps all the

Lee:

detail of the stuff that they're working on, but it's the things that they can't

Lee:

do that only you can do with either your influence or your knowledge or experience.

Lee:

And I suppose you should be sense checking everything through a filter of does this

Lee:

align with the bigger picture and you need to take that lead in demonstrating how to

Lee:

say no to stuff and how to deprioritize.

Lee:

Is that a word?

Carrie-Ann:

I, I, I get, I get where you're coming from on that one.

Carrie-Ann:

Cuz there is something about as a leader, you can often feel the need

Carrie-Ann:

to be all things to all people.

Carrie-Ann:

I think we've talked about this in other episodes as well about it's not

Carrie-Ann:

being a leader's not about being liked.

Carrie-Ann:

You're not there to make loads of new friends.

Carrie-Ann:

So actually that saying no thing is really important because actually the more

Carrie-Ann:

things you say yes to That are not helping you reach your strategic objectives and

Carrie-Ann:

take you towards that bigger purpose.

Carrie-Ann:

The more you deviate away from that.

Carrie-Ann:

And it just becomes more complicated.

Carrie-Ann:

Like there's too many programs, too many priorities doesn't

Carrie-Ann:

help anybody to actually feel like they can achieve anything.

Lee:

We've spoken already quite a bit about boundaries.

Lee:

And this sense of the culture that you create in the way that you

Lee:

set and stick to your boundaries.

Lee:

And I've talked about this on my blog and my YouTube channel before about

Lee:

the boundaries you set is the tone that you're set for your organization.

Lee:

It's the culture you set for your organization.

Lee:

You are literally creating expectations of the people that surround you.

Lee:

And so the knock on effect of that can be the vision and focus of the

Lee:

organization, the values and the way it behaves, the culture and the management

Lee:

and the working style of the organization, how connected people feel to you.

Lee:

And that's why it's really, really important to be mindful of

Lee:

what your boundaries say and do.

Lee:

But then we have this culture of the urgent, always pushing out

Lee:

the important and that tends to override our boundaries sometimes.

Lee:

And I suppose I'm interested in your thoughts about how do you start to harness

Lee:

good boundary setting and create a culture that is respectful of your boundaries.

Carrie-Ann:

I think there's a few things and we touch on this in the

Carrie-Ann:

group mentoring that I do a lot.

Carrie-Ann:

I think there's something about openness and transparency and being honest with

Carrie-Ann:

your team, particularly your immediate team that are working to support you

Carrie-Ann:

around what your boundaries actually are and why you've put them in place.

Carrie-Ann:

Cuz I think sometimes that can be hard for other people to understand.

Carrie-Ann:

So if one of your boundaries is around saying no to certain things or, you know,

Carrie-Ann:

I'm sorry that's not my priority because whatever, I think you have to help people

Carrie-Ann:

understand why you are saying no to that and why that's one of your boundaries.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think that honesty transparency is quite important

Carrie-Ann:

in having those discussions.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think you also have a role to play in talking to other people about what

Carrie-Ann:

their boundaries might be and helping them to set some for themselves as well.

Carrie-Ann:

Cuz this isn't just the domain of the leaders of the organization and

Carrie-Ann:

like the Top five, most senior people in the organization get to have

Carrie-Ann:

boundaries and other people don't.

Carrie-Ann:

I think it's a really important part as you say, of building that culture,

Lee:

You've got to be respectful of other people's boundaries.

Lee:

And if you don't demonstrate respect, you're not gonna get it.

Carrie-Ann:

absolutely.

Carrie-Ann:

I absolutely agree with you.

Carrie-Ann:

I also think there's something around, you know, when you're talking

Carrie-Ann:

about urgent, like pushing out the other stuff that might be important.

Carrie-Ann:

I think there's something about understanding who you've got in your

Carrie-Ann:

team to support you to deliver stuff.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think sometimes when things come in that that appear to be urgent,

Carrie-Ann:

there's a sense of importance and there's something about if you're a

Carrie-Ann:

certain type of personality, you probably feel like you have to be all over that

Carrie-Ann:

and you have to own it, and you have to deliver the solution to whatever

Carrie-Ann:

this urgent issue is that's come on.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think you need to remember what your position is and that you have other

Carrie-Ann:

people around you to pick up some of that work and operationalize and action things.

Carrie-Ann:

And actually by trying to be the sole person, taking responsibility

Carrie-Ann:

for solving that issue.

Carrie-Ann:

You're doing a disservice to those other people cuz you're disempowering them.

Carrie-Ann:

So you have to be really clear that you've got the right people and the right roles

Carrie-Ann:

around you to be able to delegate some of the actual doing of that work to cuz

Carrie-Ann:

I think in the moment when things are coming that are perceived to be really

Carrie-Ann:

urgent, it all feels quite dramatic and it's very easy to feel like I'm the

Carrie-Ann:

only person that can deal with this.

Carrie-Ann:

And actually quite often, as you say, there are points when you are

Carrie-Ann:

the only person that can unblock something, but actually there should

Carrie-Ann:

be other people that can do some of that, that action taking for you.

Lee:

You've got that Eisenhower matrix, which is really good at mapping out

Lee:

the urgent versus the important.

Lee:

And then you have the different quadrants around, what do you delegate?

Lee:

What do you need to focus on?

Lee:

What do you delay and having something like that as a framework that you can put

Lee:

around your work or put your work through, so you can see, should I be doing this?

Lee:

Should someone else be doing that?

Lee:

I think that's a really useful tool.

Carrie-Ann:

I, I think there are also, like you've mentioned

Carrie-Ann:

the Eisenhower framework.

Carrie-Ann:

I think there are lots of tools out there that can help you think about how

Carrie-Ann:

you manage and maintain your boundaries.

Carrie-Ann:

We've talked about time stuff.

Carrie-Ann:

We've talked about things that are non-negotiable in terms

Carrie-Ann:

of what you need to achieve.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think that's a really important thing to consider in your working week.

Carrie-Ann:

Cuz there will be so many demands on your time and everyone else thinks

Carrie-Ann:

their priority should be your priority.

Carrie-Ann:

And it won't always be that way.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, so I think you do need to think about in this week, what are the

Carrie-Ann:

three nonnegotiable things that I have to have focused some of my

Carrie-Ann:

efforts and energy on, keep bringing yourself back to that so that you

Carrie-Ann:

do feel like you're making progress.

Carrie-Ann:

For me, we've talked about trust.

Carrie-Ann:

We've talked about relationships, they're all really important parts of that

Carrie-Ann:

boundary setting because that will be what helps you to maintain those boundaries?

Carrie-Ann:

Cuz when you slip, hopefully you've got someone else who can step up and

Carrie-Ann:

go, oh no, actually I, I thought we agreed that's not what you would be

Carrie-Ann:

doing that I, I can take that pressure off and I can manage that situation.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think the relationships that you've got with the people that

Carrie-Ann:

work around you are also really important if I'm honest with you.

Lee:

When I'm working with leaders on the management of themselves, so I have

Lee:

manage as one of the six areas that I focus on when I work with senior leaders.

Lee:

And the three things we look at is how you use your time.

Lee:

So it can cover everything from how you manage meetings, how you What

Lee:

meetings you decide you're gonna go to all of that kind of stuff.

Lee:

How you create that time to think and work on strategy and

Lee:

planning, what hours you choose to work, how you structure your day.

Lee:

I always say picture what your perfect day and perfect week would look like.

Lee:

And then it's a sounds a bit.

Lee:

Woo.

Lee:

But then, then you can start to manifest it.

Lee:

The second area is, is so you, you, firstly, you work on how you use your

Lee:

time, then you work on how you work.

Lee:

So what you choose to do with your time, knowing perhaps what type of

Lee:

work life balance you are looking for.

Lee:

Cause I think that's really important to understand what you want outside of work,

Lee:

because that can determine the types of choices that you make it might be that

Lee:

you decide I'm going to take my child to school in the mornings or one day a

Lee:

week I'm gonna have brunch with someone.

Lee:

I dunno.

Lee:

And therefore I need to keep that space clear because that's a

Lee:

boundary I want to put in place.

Lee:

There's also something about knowing how you work best.

Lee:

So are you a morning person or an afternoon person?

Lee:

When are you going to feel the most creative?

Lee:

When are you gonna want quiet time and structure your diary around that?

Lee:

And then the third area always focus on is how you manage.

Lee:

So being really clear around what you need to know.

Lee:

When you want people to get you involved, as we've we've spoken about, and then

Lee:

defining the difference between what's information sharing versus what you

Lee:

might need to input into versus what you might need to make decisions on.

Lee:

Cause they are all very different.

Lee:

And I think if you can name and define it, it really helps

Lee:

give your team that guidance

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, I'm, I'm chuckling to myself still about, are you a

Carrie-Ann:

morning person or an afternoon person?

Carrie-Ann:

And the thought that went through my head was like, what if you are none of those?

Carrie-Ann:

I dunno what that says about me.

Carrie-Ann:

But I think you are right that last point you made that, you know, I,

Carrie-Ann:

I think there's something when you are setting your boundaries, when

Carrie-Ann:

you're thinking about how, and when you are working, when you're thinking

Carrie-Ann:

about, is this really urgent or not?

Carrie-Ann:

Do I need to be involved in it.

Carrie-Ann:

It's just questioning like, what value can I add to this?

Carrie-Ann:

And actually, if, when you've posed that question, the answer is very little, it

Carrie-Ann:

is probably for someone else to deal with that situation or that issue for you.

Carrie-Ann:

Because if you're not adding any value, why would you be taking up

Carrie-Ann:

your time getting involved in that.

Lee:

And there's something else that, again, I don't think senior

Lee:

leaders particularly, and it might be more broadly than this really think

Lee:

about the setup of their office.

Lee:

Particularly if they've got a PA or someone that helps

Lee:

manage them and their diary.

Lee:

I don't think people necessarily invest enough time in getting

Lee:

that right from the outset.

Lee:

And certainly back in the day when I was in my corporate job, I used to

Lee:

help set up chief exec offices and we did time audits of where and how the

Lee:

chief exec was spending their time.

Lee:

And we had to have some hard conversations with the chief exec

Lee:

around their expectations because they wanted to do too much in the

Lee:

time that was allocated to them.

Lee:

So they wanted to see certain people on a certain frequency and it was

Lee:

just, there was no logistical way that it was ever gonna happen, but we

Lee:

didn't identify that until it was all mapped out and we'd audited, all the

Lee:

things that they wanted to achieve and how it was gonna fit into the

Lee:

working hours that they wanted to work.

Lee:

And so we had that as a basis to have a really hard conversation and they had

Lee:

to make choices around what they needed to prioritize what they could delegate.

Lee:

But then we sat with PA and, and the teams and we would look at right when you get

Lee:

requests for meetings, through which ones do you divert elsewhere and what types

Lee:

of things should be diverted elsewhere in terms of calls or emails or meetings?

Lee:

Which ones do you escalate up to the chief executive.

Lee:

How do you create a space and hold that space so that they can work on

Lee:

strategy or they can be visible in the organization and make sure that

Lee:

that individual absolutely understood the importance of all these things so

Lee:

that they didn't try to be a people please and fit everyone in and then

Lee:

create a mess of the office setup.

Lee:

And so it was a really important dialogue that we had to have.

Lee:

We had Trello boards and everything.

Lee:

I mean, we, we went

Carrie-Ann:

Do you know what Lee, that doesn't surprise me.

Carrie-Ann:

You telling me that

Lee:

They've still got the processes in place because it's

Lee:

helped them to have clarity and have a dialogue with each other.

Lee:

And they've come from a common understanding of where

Lee:

they're all trying to get.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and I think that point you make as well is not just the group effort, but

Carrie-Ann:

the process piece is really important.

Carrie-Ann:

So actually, if there are processes that you and others can put in place

Carrie-Ann:

to help manage the time better and what you are doing with your time

Carrie-Ann:

better why would you not do that?

Carrie-Ann:

But I think some people can be quite resistant to the idea that

Carrie-Ann:

there can be processes that can be put in place to help manage that.

Carrie-Ann:

But yeah, I think that that is a really important part of it.

Carrie-Ann:

And if you are in a position where you're lucky enough to have a PA like

Carrie-Ann:

they can be one of the best tools in your armory around how you manage

Carrie-Ann:

your time and protect your time.

Carrie-Ann:

And I've, I've worked with chief execs who've had PAs that put

Carrie-Ann:

the fear of everything into you.

Carrie-Ann:

You're like, oh no, I'm gonna have to go through that person if I

Carrie-Ann:

want access to the chief executive.

Carrie-Ann:

And I laugh about it, but in some respects now I look back and think,

Carrie-Ann:

actually that was really good, cuz that meant that person had somebody

Carrie-Ann:

who was really protecting them their time, their diary, and making sure

Carrie-Ann:

that they were being able to focus on the things that they needed to.

Lee:

And they don't have, you don't have to do any of this stuff in a

Lee:

confrontational way or in a horrid way.

Lee:

It's not about necessarily saying no to people, but it's about diverting them to

Lee:

the best place to get things moved forward and the best place isn't always you.

Carrie-Ann:

No.

Carrie-Ann:

In fact, if, if you are the wrong place, just something sat there waiting for you

Carrie-Ann:

to take action on can hold things up for, for far longer, because it's actually, it

Carrie-Ann:

isn't relevant for you to be part of that.

Carrie-Ann:

And therefore it kind of just sits.

Lee:

So we know it's important that you don't get down into the

Lee:

weeds as a leader, but we also know that people like to have control.

Lee:

They like to know what's happening in the organization.

Lee:

They particularly in times of challenge may feel that they've got to go that

Lee:

extra mile to show they've got grip.

Lee:

This is the word I always hear.

Lee:

People use grip on an issue.

Lee:

But we know if you are being too hands on or too directive, you

Lee:

can be undermining your teams.

Lee:

You could be diminishing trust as we've said before.

Lee:

And it actually has the opposite effect in terms of performance.

Lee:

How do you then stay in control without doing or overseeing everything?

Carrie-Ann:

I think there's something around having clarity about responsibility

Carrie-Ann:

and accountability and what's different.

Carrie-Ann:

And who's got what in terms of who's responsible for something

Carrie-Ann:

and who's accountable for it.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think clarity around that is really important.

Carrie-Ann:

I think there's something for me about how well, you trust people, you need to

Carrie-Ann:

be clear about expectations with them.

Carrie-Ann:

So if you are delegating something to someone else and, and saying,

Carrie-Ann:

okay, you need to deliver this.

Carrie-Ann:

Now set these expectations early about when they have to come back to

Carrie-Ann:

you with an update progress report, whatever it might be to make sure

Carrie-Ann:

there is that report back structure.

Carrie-Ann:

Because if you know, actually I've given this person three days, they've told me

Carrie-Ann:

they can come back to me with an update on that then I'm gonna stop thinking about

Carrie-Ann:

that now cause because someone else is taking that forward, but I've got that

Carrie-Ann:

sense that somebody is coming back to me.

Carrie-Ann:

So that is obviously built on the trust and relationship piece, but I think

Carrie-Ann:

those clear expectations of this is whose job it is to deliver this now,

Carrie-Ann:

it's not mine, but what I do need you to do is to feed to me at X point in

Carrie-Ann:

time because I'm have going to have to be accountable to the rest of the board.

Carrie-Ann:

For that, for example, is, is a really important part of it.

Lee:

But how do you, I mean, I've seen this where people get into I'm seeking

Lee:

assurance, but actually all they're doing is seeking reassurance and they still are

Lee:

still able to dance in the weeds under the guise of, oh, I'm just getting information

Lee:

so that I can do just as you've said, report back if I'm asked on it.

Lee:

So how, how do you get that balance right so that your team aren't

Lee:

having to feed back on every little bit that they're doing, I suppose

Carrie-Ann:

that's that bit about staying in that strategic space.

Carrie-Ann:

Isn't it.

Carrie-Ann:

And knowing where your value add is and knowing what it is that you

Carrie-Ann:

do need to know and what you don't.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think actually weirdly sometimes it, it works the opposite way because if

Carrie-Ann:

you're a leader who can't get out of the operational weeds of something, the thing

Carrie-Ann:

that helps you step out of that is when you've got people who will constructively

Carrie-Ann:

challenge you and say, actually, you don't need to worry about that.

Carrie-Ann:

Cuz we're dealing with that over here.

Carrie-Ann:

What you actually need to know is.

Carrie-Ann:

Because I think sometimes if you are not in that strategic head space,

Carrie-Ann:

it, it's hard to work out how to get into it without other people

Carrie-Ann:

nudging you in the right direction.

Carrie-Ann:

So I've often had to take that role where my role is to say to

Carrie-Ann:

other leaders in my organizations we're being too operational here.

Carrie-Ann:

This isn't for us to know about.

Carrie-Ann:

You need to let those people get on and do the job.

Carrie-Ann:

Actually, the bit we need to be thinking about is this bit over

Carrie-Ann:

here, and that's the bit that we need the assurance on and you are right.

Carrie-Ann:

I think assurance and reassurance gets very murky depending on your

Carrie-Ann:

personality type, in terms of what it is that you are actually seeking.

Lee:

Yeah.

Lee:

And there's something there about you need to give permission to your

Lee:

teams to be challenged on that.

Lee:

So there's something about your behavior and your telling people

Lee:

it's okay to challenge me if you think I'm getting too into it.

Lee:

Cause I think if you don't say that some teams will be fearful.

Carrie-Ann:

I think you've got to have that level of insight

Carrie-Ann:

first though haven't you?

Carrie-Ann:

So if you haven't done that work to have that insight, so I've worked with

Carrie-Ann:

leaders before heve said to me, I, I know in periods of high stress that I

Carrie-Ann:

become really operational because I feel like that's the bit that I can control

Carrie-Ann:

and I want to know what's going on.

Carrie-Ann:

And they have given me permission to say to them, you're being too operational now

Carrie-Ann:

you need to just let us go on with it.

Carrie-Ann:

We'll come to you when we've got the bit that you need to be involved in,

Carrie-Ann:

but that person could only say that to me because they had that insight.

Carrie-Ann:

So I guess some of it is about how do you get that insight and maybe

Carrie-Ann:

that's through feedback from others and maybe that's through coaching,

Carrie-Ann:

mentoring, whatever that might be as part of your leadership journey.

Carrie-Ann:

But you have to have the insight and be open minded enough.

Carrie-Ann:

I think to, to then say to others, I expect you to challenge

Carrie-Ann:

me if I'm not being strategic.

Lee:

Yeah, I think that is part of bigger mindset work that you need to

Lee:

do as a leader, because I think if you are someone who's been used to working

Lee:

operationally and maybe you've thrived in that environment, suddenly moving to that

Lee:

strategic level can seem less fast paced.

Lee:

Maybe your outputs don't feel as tangible and I've had conversations with people

Lee:

going well, I want to get involved with what the team's doing and do

Lee:

something operational, because I want to feel like I've achieved something.

Lee:

So doing some work as you step into that leadership role and, and the

Lee:

expectations of what you need to deliver as a leader to help you reframe

Lee:

what delivery looks like now that you are a leader or a senior leader.

Lee:

I think it's a really important thing to.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, I couldn't agree more with you Lee.

Lee:

And then I think there's something about working on the visibility.

Lee:

So we've talked about that the need to get out and build relationships.

Lee:

I think your communication as a leader is key because you're not gonna be

Lee:

able to be everywhere at all times.

Lee:

So determining from the outset, what your personal communication rhythm is

Lee:

gonna look like, where people can see you, how they can access you, the type of

Lee:

information you're gonna share and have that as part of your, you know, package of

Lee:

things that set out your store again, is another really important piece of work to.

Carrie-Ann:

I think you have to bear in mind consistency with that as well.

Carrie-Ann:

So making sure you're doing that consistently, so whatever you choose

Carrie-Ann:

is your rhythm or your style or your approach be consistent with it because

Carrie-Ann:

people will start to expect that of you.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think there's also something about setting expectations of the team

Carrie-Ann:

around you and other leaders about how they might also contribute to that.

Carrie-Ann:

And, you know, like you say, the fact is you can't be everywhere all the time.

Carrie-Ann:

So actually, what, what are other people's actions gonna be to support

Carrie-Ann:

that visibility of the broader leadership?

Lee:

Yeah.

Lee:

Great.

Lee:

So to conclude this discussion, what are your howtos to start

Lee:

managing yourself as a leader.

Carrie-Ann:

I think there's something for me around looking at some of the

Carrie-Ann:

very practical things you could do.

Carrie-Ann:

So some of the things we've talked about, you could implement some practical tips,

Carrie-Ann:

maybe it is using Trello, maybe it's using your diary in a different way.

Carrie-Ann:

That kind of stuff I think is really helpful to do.

Carrie-Ann:

Cause I think that helps build good habits.

Carrie-Ann:

Definitely.

Carrie-Ann:

So for me, that would be one of my tips and I, I think my other

Carrie-Ann:

reflection or thing that I think it would be helpful for other leaders

Carrie-Ann:

to do is just to spend a bit of time thinking about their own boundaries.

Carrie-Ann:

And if they're clear on what they are.

Carrie-Ann:

If not, how do you get that clarity?

Carrie-Ann:

What, like, what's important to you in terms of that boundary setting?

Carrie-Ann:

Because I think if you can't be clear on your own boundaries, I dunno how you can

Carrie-Ann:

expect other people to have that clarity.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think that just will help you work more effectively with other people.

Lee:

Yeah.

Lee:

Yeah.

Lee:

And I would just add to that, that thing around working on reframing the guilt

Lee:

maybe that you're feeling around when you are working in the weeds or when you are

Lee:

trying to say no to things, but you'll want to be a people please, or whatever,

Lee:

doing some, some work on reframing what that actually means is important.

Lee:

So that's a wrap for series one.

Lee:

We are going to be back next week with a little after party

Carrie-Ann:

Woo.

Lee:

in honor of all those trashy TV shows that we watch.

Lee:

It's like an end of series reunion show, but just with the two of us

Carrie-Ann:

I guess what sort of reunion it is?

Carrie-Ann:

I dunno, be me and you again.

Lee:

But we're gonna be reflecting on our discussions from across the series.

Lee:

I dunno about you Carrie Ann, but I've certainly been thinking about

Lee:

some of the things that we've talked about afterwards and I've gone.

Lee:

Oh, I wish we'd spoken about that.

Lee:

Or something's happened since, and I'm like,

Carrie-Ann:

that bit, something happens after you've recorded an

Carrie-Ann:

episode and you go, oh, that would've been brilliant to talk about.

Carrie-Ann:

Cause it's about exactly the topic.

Carrie-Ann:

That's the one for me that seems to crop up.

Lee:

So, this is gonna be our chance to revisit, revise, refute the

Lee:

things that we might have said or discussed in previous episodes.

Carrie-Ann:

It's not just gonna be a recap of, of everything we've already covered.

Carrie-Ann:

Cuz we hope that you've listened to all of those episodes.

Lee:

So if you've listened to all the episodes and you've got any thoughts

Lee:

or things that you thought, hang on a minute, you didn't answer this

Lee:

question, or I still am not clear on what I should do in this situation.

Lee:

Just drop us a line on any of our socials.

Lee:

And we will try to make sure that we cover it in one way or another next week.