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4 Ways to Work Less

Ego causes leaders to over-estimate their own talent and underestimate the talent of others.

Ego makes leaders over-manage and under-lead.

4 ways to work less:

#1. Who:

Don’t ask, “What can I do?”

Ask, “Who?”

  1. Who can help?
  2. Who knows?
  3. Who has energy?
  4. Who believes in our vision?
  5. Who is under-utilized?
  6. Who has ideas?
  7. Who can do what I can’t do?
  8. Who can do what I’m doing 80% as good as I do it?
  9. Who is more talented than I am? (If you can’t think of anyone, you’re confused.)
  10. Who looks at things differently?

The answer to overwork is “who” not “what”.

#2. Develop:

Develop talented people and expect them to contribute more. That’s not being lazy. That’s the work of leadership.

Successful leaders maximize the talent of others.

#3. Point:

Great talent likes to know the goal. Tell them where you’re going. Talent doesn’t like being told what to do.  Ask them how to achieve the goal.

Point the way, then get out of the way. The inability to get out of the way means you’re in the way.

  1. Inspire shared vision.
  2. Ask them how to accomplish the vision.
  3. Develop plans, goals, and objectives.
  4. Establish authority and accountability.
  5. Get out of the way.


#4. Disrupt:

Once you identify a “who”, they’re going to say things that feel uncomfortable. Listen! They’ll take you places you hadn’t imagined.

Listen most deeply to the uncomfortable things. A comfortable message solidifies the status quo; an uncomfortable disrupts it.

Leaders are disrupters.

12 things to do with a new “Who”:

  1. Become their partner, not their boss.
  2. Coach them, don’t manage them.
  3. Maximize their talent and quirks.
  4. Don’t make them like everyone else.
  5. Run interference for them.
  6. Celebrate their successes.
  7. Learn from their mistakes.
  8. Don’t compete with them.
  9. Require them to honor others.
  10. Expect them to work hard and deliver great results.
  11. Give them constant feedback.
  12. Give them more authority as they act responsibly.

What suggestions do you have for over-worked leaders?

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