This is especially true for new leader who often come into posts with great ideas, but are unaware of the daily workload associated with their new role.
One of my favourite sayings is ‘it’s hard to remember your job is to drain the swamp, when you’re up to you neck in alligators’.
As leaders if we don’t take care of the alligators we will not be successful, but sometimes there can be so many that we end up spending all of our time just fighting alligators. If that happens then we have fallen into the trap of managing, just taking care of daily business, rather than leading.
We need to find some breathing space, we need to focus on the future, if we don’t our time will just be consumed, and so will that of our teams, and we will end up fighting to maintain the status quo.
Thats not leadership. Leadership is about challenging the status quo, taking things to the next level of performance, improving things.
We may need to be prepared to work longer hours at the start, to get well on top of things, so that we can start to implement the tasks that will improve things, rather than just keeping our heads above water.
We may have to delegate much of the day-to-day work, or take on extra resources to cope with this increase in workload, as we free ourselves so that we can plan for the future.
It will be well worth the extra effort or the extra costs, because if we don’t do this at the start, we will find it harder and harder to do later on.
As the saying goes, once we get wrapped up in alligator killing, it can become difficult to remember that our job is to clear the swamp.