Forget Time Management, we need Time Leadership!

by on 1st May 2018

"I'm too busy", is a phrase that I hear all too often. This is not hugely surprising. After all, companies are trying to do more with less. What is surprising, is what usually follows those three words. 

"I'm too busy to talk or think about leadership".

For someone who has spent their professional career focusing on leadership and the huge impact it can have, I find it incredulous that these words ever find their way to the lips of someone responsible for the success of a team or business. 

At a leadership development course that I once attended, a managing director, having completed the first day said, "Well, this is all great but how am I going to find the time to do all this new stuff alongside the stuff I already do?".

It strikes me that they either:

  • Didn't understand that their primary role is leadership.
  • Didn't see that leadership was going to make their own success more likely.
  • Really didn't think they have time.

Time management focusses on finding time for something you know you need to do. Based on the options above, it is highly likely that they didn't know. We therefore need something new, an approach that will not only look to ensure people are better with their time, but also ensures that they know how they should spend that time if they want to be an effective leader. 

NOTE: if you're a small business owner, or even a sole-trader, this applies as much to you. Leadership is not just about leading people, it's also about leading yourself and your business.

Before embarking upon time leadership, you should first understand a few things:

The Difference between Responsibility and Accountability

If you're responsible for something, you actually do it. If you delegate responsbility to someone else, you become accountable for it and no longer do it, BUT you do need to check that it is being done.

Therefore think DO Responsibilities, CHECK your Accountabilities.

The Difference between Management and Leadership

Management is about making sure something happens as it should. It therefore involves monitoring to see how things are going, and directing when things aren't going well. This will ensure that things remain the same as they should. Leadership is about making things better, pure and simple. 

Think SAME Management, BETTER Leadership.

Spot when you're not leading or managing

When you're not leading or managing, you're either doing something or doing nothing. For a leader, too much 'doing' takes time away from managing and leading. Keeping the balance healthy is vital.

Your role

What does your company need from you? What are your objectives? It's incredible how many people haven't truly considered what their company needs from them and why. It's also surprising how little time people dedicate to the things their company needs from them; getting side-tracked on other 'stuff'.

Bringing it all together

So, by

  • knowing your role
  • making sure you're including all aspects of it in your week
  • knowing what you need to be responsble for and doing it
  • knowing what your accountable for and checking it's being done
  • having a health balance of leadership, management and transactional behaviour will become an effective time-leader.

There's a lot to take on here, so if you want a simple approach to time leadership, Diary Detox ( will show you the way, but it even goes a couple of steps further. It turns your calendar or diary in to a heatmap that will ensure you hold yourself accountable every single day by stopping you doing things that damage your business and encouraging you to seek out the things that grow your business. It will also show you what constitutes leadership behaviour....and it's a lot, lot simpler than you imagine.



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