The ULTIMATE Way to Invest Your Time as a Leader

The ULTIMATE Way to Invest Your Time as a Leader 150 150 Jennifer Ledet

Leaders, I have a quick quiz for you:

  • Name 5 recent Olympic Gold Medalists.
  • Name the 5 wealthiest business owners in the world.
  • Who won the Grammy for Album of the Year in any of the last 3 years?
  • List 6 people who have won a Pulitzer Prize.

How’d you do? Not so hot, huh? I have another quiz for you and I think you’ll have an easier time with this one.

  • List 3 people who taught you something worthwhile.
  • Name one person who encouraged you.
  • Name one person who took time to answer your questions or who inspired you.
  • Think of someone who took interest in helping you and developing your skills.

A little easier to recall, right? The point is, the greatest leaders and coaches — those who really make a difference — aren’t necessarily the most famous or notorious, but rather, the ones who take time to invest in people.

What kind of investments are you making?

I meet with our financial advisor twice a year and he updates my husband and I on how our investments are paying interest and dividends. Before working with this financial advisor, we were just spending our money without any conscious thought of the long-term implications of our actions. We weren’t giving much thought to our future or to what we would eventually leave behind.

The smallest interactions today create a legacy that will live on beyond you. As a senior level executive, frontline manager, or CEO, when you take the time to invest in people, you will also receive dividends — of a different sort. You are making a mark that can’t be erased. Make it a goal to consciously leave a positive legacy by investing in others. What kind of legacy will you leave?

As a leader, you have lots of experience and know-how. By “investing” in others, I mean take time with them, give them your attention, and mentor them. Are you transferring your knowledge, wisdom, skills, and even shortcuts to others?  When you share your experience and expertise with others you not only help that team member but you benefit the organization, as well. When you sow seeds of encouragement, you inspire self-confidence and determination, which ultimately can impact the whole team’s bottom line.

In the first few years of my leadership consultant career, I worked with a mentor and coach. When I ran to him with a dilemma, he rarely came out and told me what to do. Instead, he would listen, and ask me questions that would spark my thinking. His questions often challenged me to think outside the box and to doubt my assumptions. I learned a lot from him and yet, I don’t think he ever preached, directed, or demanded a thing of me. He simply drew the answers out of me and subtly shared his wisdom and knowledge.

As a result of my mentor’s investment in me, I became a much more valuable team member and I know the organization reaped those benefits. Years later, I often find myself using those same techniques with others.

Do you act as a role-model for others? As a leader, you are being watched! Others are looking to your example to follow. Mentoring a team member or a colleague can be as simple as taking the time to answer their questions, develop their skills, and patiently correct their mistakes.

Each time you take an extra moment to explain not only what and how you’re doing what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it, you instill a sense of ownership in team members. When they can see the bigger picture and the reasoning or logic behind the task, they will have a greater commitment to doing the job well.

Whether it was a counselor, coach, a teacher, a parent, or a successful business owner, someone gave you a hand or modeled the way for you. Will you pay it forward?

Take a look at who is around you. Who can you invest in? I challenge you to review how and where you’re investing your most valuable resource — your time. Your investment in people will bring you the most rewarding dividends of all.

Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication.  In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems.

For more resources on leadership and employee engagement, be sure to sign up for our monthly Ezine and you will receive our report: “7 of Your Biggest People Problems…Solved.”

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