Leadership is a complex and demanding role, and one of the most important characteristics of a strategic leader is to be collaborative. But how should leaders spend their time? In this article, we'll explore the habits of successful leaders and how to make the most of their time. It's no secret that CEOs spend a lot of their time on activities that promote their agendas, while also managing problems as they arise. As all business leaders know, every hour dedicated to company time is an hour of personal time sacrificed for the good of the company.
Instead of having your leaders spend their time in meetings that everyone hates anyway, teach them how to reallocate their time to much more valuable one-on-one conversations. We can learn a lot from successful leaders who have trained at the United Nations, Harvard Business School, Microsoft, Mastercard and hundreds more. According to research, these leaders spend an average of 43% of their time on activities that promote their agendas, while 36% is spent in a reactive mode, managing problems as they develop. People who spend an optimal number of hours interacting with their direct leader (six hours per week) are 29% more inspired, 30% more engaged, 16% more innovative and 15% more intrinsically motivated than those who only spend one hour a week.
Leaders know the value of taking time out and use that time to disconnect and relax, reconnect and rejuvenate. But what are the common things successful leaders do that we can all emulate? According to research, the average leader spends between 20 and 25 hours per week in meetings. However, it's not just about the amount of time spent in meetings; it's also about the opportunity cost of that time. If leaders resist even that idea, you'll have identified a leader who needs more training and development.
This consolidates the fact that strategy is a team effort and that an effective leader spends most of his time working with and helping others. A leader's job is to keep their eyes up and forward, in the future, to lay the groundwork to get there; and to make people so strong and supported that they can do their jobs without you. According to the Leadership IQ study “Optimal Hours With the Boss”, most people spend only half the time they should spend with their boss.