Ever notice that what FEELS good, in the moment, isn’t always what IS good, long-term? And what IS good, long-term, doesn’t always FEEL good, in the moment? (Think exercising, not eating (another) piece of that French Silk pie, getting organized, paying the bills, or any of a variety of household (or workplace) chores.)
The following chart divvies things up into four classes: Class 1 – that which feels good, and is good, too; Class 2 – that which doesn’t feel so good, but actually is good; Class 3 – that which feels good, but actually isn’t so good; and Class 4 – that which doesn’t feel so good, and isn’t so good, either.
Most of us spend way too much time in Class 3 and 4, and far too little time in Class 1 or 2.
How Much Time Where?
- Class 4 – spend as little time in Class 4 as absolutely possible and only as much as is absolutely necessary.
- Class 3 – while better than Class 4, endeavor to spend as little time in Class 3 as absolutely possible and only as much as is absolutely necessary.
- Class 2 – while better than Class 3 and 4, endeavor to spend as little time in Class 2 as absolutely possible and only as much as is absolutely necessary.
- Class 1 – spend as much time as you possibly can in Class 1.
So how, exactly do you do that? Individual results may vary, but it starts by asking the question, “What would make this a Class 1 activity?” Often, just by asking the question our thoughts start a-poppin’ and a path will make itself known.
“What WOULD Make This a Class 1 Activity?”
- Class 4 – Criticizing a direct report late Friday afternoon.
- Class 3 – Sending the feedback via email on late Friday afternoon so you don’t have to face his reaction
- Class 2 – Sitting down with the employee to share your constructive feedback when you’re so busy that you feel pressured to ‘dump-and-run’ or ‘wrap it up,’ too quickly.
With just a bit of thought and planning, you can easily turn this into a Class 1 activity:
- Class 1 – Properly prepare for the conversation and schedule it for a day and time that’s mutually doable for you both, where you both can sit down and can talk through your concerns, discuss corrective actions, gain commitment, and schedule a follow-up meeting to assess progress, without either of you feeling rushed or defensive.
See what I mean? Now YOU try it.
What Next?If this post helped you learn something about yourself, then great! Be sure to share your insight with others as a way of 'locking in' your learning. While you're at it, I'd also appreciate you telling them about the other self-study resources available from LeadershipTraction including:
- my other blog posts
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- other leadership development resources on my website
- and, of course, my book – Leadership Haiku
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