As leaders, we are forever on the go. Let’s be honest — regardless of what or who we are leading, we are on a rapid schedule. With the next meeting on the mind, the next project to complete, the next goal to be met, moving at a fast rhythm, we prefer not to be disrupted.
It is widely believed in current culture, and particularly corporate America, that faster is always better and faster wins. Of course, any leader wants to lead a successful team that meets their deadlines and makes their mark, but there tends to be a fear many leaders live in — the fear if they allow their minds to go off the speedy track of the goal at hand, it will deter or hinder their success. It is often this very mindset which hinders us.
In this high-speed, fast-food, fast-everything nation, we are fixated on doing it all and doing it now. But do we ever consider the benefits of slow? Or the detriments of not taking it slow at the appropriate times in our leadership?
It’s natural to always be discussing the next thing, yet rarely focused on the present issue. But are we always so eager to meet the goals in front of us that we forget to take the time to consider the intricate details along the way? Could moving so fast all the time be hindering our growth and goals, or ultimate vision as leaders for that matter?
Here are a few ways slowing down can get you ahead:
It forces you to look at your current state and fully understand the root of any problems.
With the many decisions you may have on a given day, some may require more time to consider and mull over than we may ever be patient enough to give them. By taking time to gauge your current culture, in healthy times or not, you will be able to better identify what is working and what is not. It is often a crisis or surprise that will cause us to reevaluate why we do what we do. Why not be a step ahead of the game?
It causes you to stop, listen, and not simply react.
Slowing down gives us time to be attentive, to consider what others think, and allows us to understand new ways of thinking. When there are many people on the teams we are working with, this becomes even more crucial. When we choose to make time available — to stop and listen — we are much more receptive and open-minded to everyone around us, not only those we work with but all of our relationships — from our marriage to our family and friends.
It encourages you to consider your holistic health.
While often this falls to the bottom of the list when it is already packed with so many other agendas, your health of mind, body, and spirit are of utmost importance as they directly affect your work and relationships. The way you sleep, eat, and care for your body will have a drastic impact on your clarity of mind, your creativity, and wisdom. In line with your health, taking time to ponder and be grateful for where you are will also create gratitude that will only fuel you with a greater purpose.
By paying attention to how we do life as leaders, from our workplace to our homes, maybe we can reach farther than we ever thought possible. Consider taking it slow and begin to cultivate a lifestyle of reflection, integration, and growth.
Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the President of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and is the author of “Framework Leadership.” A champion of innovative educational design, Ingle is the president of one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. As president, Ingle founded the American Center for Political Leadership at the university and is also a founding member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Before becoming Southeastern’s president in 2011, Ingle held leadership positions in higher education and the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle. Ingle is the author of several leadership books and the creator of the Framework Leadership podcast. He currently serves on the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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