Reducing The Burden: 10 Tips On How To Lighten The Weight of the Rock

 By: Richard Magid
In my work with business leaders I often use the analogy of pushing a large rock up a hill. The business owner feels the entire weight of the rock and sometimes feels it's about to roll back over them. To lighten the weight of that rock and increase the support to push it up the hill, a leader must tap into the full talents and experiences of their team.

1. Stop blaming others - Take the time to look in the mirror and note the actions and behaviors that you embody and how they affect how others react. This is beyond placing the blame on others and looking at how to "fix" them, it's rooted in determining how to motivate and lead other individuals towards greater success individually and as part of the larger team.
Are you aware of the language and tone you use?
Do you attempt to approach each situation without judgment?

2. Have more coaching conversations - Before having meaningful and impactful conversations, determine whether it could be an opportunity to teach, mentor, or coach the other individual for the purpose of his or her growth.
How often do you have coaching conversations?
Are you open to being the learner in these conversations?

3. Revisit your strengths, passions, and values - Integral to your success is the intersection of your values, passions, and strengths but staying on path requires constant guidance and recalibration. As a leader it is your responsibility to keep sight of your own intersection as well as those of your team members and employees.
Do you know the values, passions, and strengths of your team members? Are you helping them reach their intersection?
What can you do to act more in line with your values, passions, and strengths in order to realize your maximum potential?

4. Identify the missing conversations and have them - Missing conversations linger around like the 800 lb. gorilla creating a tense atmosphere and promoting unspoken assumptions instead of working through the facts.
Who are the people you're avoiding? Why?
What expectations need to be reestablished? What standards need to be re-clarified?
What are you accepting that is no longer acceptable?

5. Become aware of your triggers and manage them - We all have triggers that cause us to react out of character (either through brash action or avoiding the situation entirely - fight or flight).
What are your triggers?
Do you understand and manage against others' triggers?

6. Build a realistic "to do" list - Start each day by prioritizing your most critical tasks: What must get done today, without exception? Some days the critical list may be 2-3 items, others it might be more. Remember, it's not about having enough time, it's about setting priorities.
How would it feel to accomplish everything (or most everything) on your list each day?
What criteria do you use to determine your priorities?

7. Delegate authority - We expand our team in order to increase our capacity and strengthen our offering, but often we limit the team by not giving them the authority and autonomy to make critical decisions. Give your team the "room" they need to accomplish the goals you set out together.
What experience have you had where you weren't able to make the critical decision, where you were stifled?
What level of authority can you comfortably delegate?

8. Take time to close the agreement loop - After a conversation laying out next steps, it's important to recap the decisions and action steps creating a clear set of requests and promises (i.e., answering the question: Who will do what by when?).
Are you getting the proper promise to your request?
Does the other party have all the pieces of the agreement loop? Do they have access to the resources they need?

9. Exercise and start your day with a healthy breakfast - All studies have shown that those who eat a healthy and balanced breakfast work better, have increased focus, and have greater clarity. They don't suffer from mid-morning exhaustion. Same is true for those who regularly exercise.
What did you have for breakfast this morning? Is this typical?
How often do you get regimented exercise?

10. Think solutions! - Solutions are hard to come by if you're stuck doting on "how did we get here?" Focusing on alternative ways to solve the problem is much more productive and worthwhile and will prove to be the quicker route to resolution.
What do you do to pull yourself out from blaming others and getting stuck in the problem?
What could you do to help others shift their mindset to focus on developing possible solutions?
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