How do impactful leaders manage tasks?

5 Tips on effective task management

One of the most difficult evolutions for any leader is the shift from ‘doing’ to ‘leading’. As a leader’s responsibilities become more complex, what differentiates an effective leader from an ineffective one is the ability to manage the tasks at hand.  End of the day, it is not what you ‘say’ but what you ‘do’ that matters!!

In my previous article, I had spoken about 5 simple things that Leaders need to bear in mind when they manage people. Here are 5 simple Tips on how to Manage tasks:

1.     Let Go…

To be a Leader who can create an impact, you need to delegate. A lot of times, leaders tend to get so passionate about what they are doing that they do not take time to train others or to handover. They prefer to work on tasks themselves and this often means that work never gets done or gets delayed indefinitely. In fact, this DIY habit arises from their tendency to be over perfect in tasks. Some also become so insecure about delegating that they end up holding on to things that are not so important.

However, leaders who do not delegate, will not grow! If delegation is difficult for you as a leader, you can start by breaking down the task into smaller chunks and assigning a person to do each task. This way, you can get the task done and also ensure that each aspect is covered by an expert chosen by you.

2.     Learn to say No…!

It’s a bit paradoxical that I am talking about this as I myself terrible at this and am still working on it, but I do believe this is an important skill for any leader. The key here is the ability to say “No” for unimportant things and to prioritize the work that needs it. I have seen some of my colleagues do this efficiently. It’s as important for Leaders to work smart as it is to work hard.

So, here is my tip to all the young leaders out there: Learn to manage your time from the very beginning so that it becomes a habit. If you learn to prioritize your work and focus on things that are more important, you will be equipped to take on more and grow in the process. The best part is that if you do this well, your stress level also reduces and it gives you more time to focus!

3.     Avoid distractions…

In today’s world of multiple devices, the need for instant solution finding is often huge among young leaders. Instant googling, smart phones, tablets and laptops are huge distractions. I have seen many young leaders who end up taking calls at all times, even in between scheduled meetings. This often takes away the focus from the task at hand. In the end, nothing gets done satisfactorily.

Leaders must remember that there is no constant need to jump and run. It is important to prioritize and take one thing at a time, thus giving your complete attention to each task. Making a habit of this can help you go a long way and create an impact with your work.

4.     Communicate on a regular basis…

Communication is by far one of the most important aspects when it comes to any task. I have always spoken about its relevance and I will say it again. Leaders must ensure that there are regular touch points with the team to ensure that tasks get done. In fact, this will reassure them that work is progressing as well. In-person meetings, virtual touch points, emails, phone, SMS, WhatsApp etc. can be used for regular updates and communication of updates.

5.     Leverage Technology…

Finally, when needed, leaders must take the help of technology to manage tasks. There is a plethora of tools available today. Using project and task management tools ensures that work gets done in a timely manner. There are CRM tools to manage client relationships, collaboration tools, tracking tools, scheduling software and even work automation tools that can be leveraged. Depending on the kind of work you do, use a tool that suits you. If nothing, use as excel sheet to manage tasks!

Task management can get cumbersome at times.  However, it is not something that leaders can shy away from. While managing people is important, the work at hand also needs to get done. Therefore, a leader needs to strike a balance between the management of task and people in order to be impactful.

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