Productivity and Leadership: How to be more productive without breaking out?

Productivity and Leadership

Being an entrepreneur is hard and often in an attempt to take the “extra step” we risk burning ourselves. Here’s how to do it by avoiding the risks!

When we embark on a new adventure, or we work hard at work in the company that we have created and we love, we feel so energetic and perky, in practice we radiate energy from all the pores and the sun of determination shines in our eyes. What follows is often the most classic of the scripts: we proceed undeterred and become “implacable and restless” , without realizing that, perhaps that rest so ignored, after all, is useful for something.

The society in which we live increases the dose, constantly pushing towards speed: reaching the head and staying on top of the wave seem to be the only priorities, so what we have left to do is accelerate and run faster.

But all this continuous race inevitably generates friction, to which we try to respond by accelerating more and more, ignoring it or post-setting the remedy to a more favorable period (which often ends up never arriving).

However, are we sure that this attitude is favorable to a long-term career? 

The answer is, of course, no, because the continuous acceleration is counterproductive and leads directly to exhaustion, if not to “burst”. So how can we find and maintain a speed that is sustainable and that keeps our work effective?

The way to reach a sustainable and effective speed may seem, at first sight, a shocking contradiction, above all for those of us who have always and only relied on their abilities to obtain results.

The secret to gaining speed without risking ending up in burn out is to switch from the ego-drive (one-person guide) to the co-drive (shared guide).

With ego-drive we mean relying solely on our own energy level and personal performance, while with co-drive we refer to a different approach that involves the people around us.

Productivity and Leadership

The first step to make the leap to the co-drive is to let go of the obsession for personal development, for one’s needs, performance, and be ready to change one’s pace. Then, we need to be deeply interested in other people.

It may seem truly illogical, but the leap to new growth begins when we realize that we must stop accelerating and instead begin to slow down and let go of those aspects that were our driving forces: power, prestige, responsibility, recognition.

So the co-drive requires us to forget about ourselves for a moment and concentrate on the others. The change is based on the fact that we have already demonstrated who we are, so we can help others to realize themselves. Helping the members of our work team will turn into more brilliant collective results.

So in practice, what should we change?

First, instead of striving to be energetic, we should aim to be energizing. There is no doubt that being ourselves the first to have an energetic attitude can stimulate our group to do the same, but giving this example on every occasion makes us fall into the risk of unloading our batteries quickly. Not to mention that it could happen that we find ourselves really discharged and not very clear just when the group needs us most.

The same goes for those cases in which we transfer a constant rush to the members of our work group. A slight sense of urgency is useful, but if you are constantly undergoing it, the risk is to generate anxiety and stress, aspects that stifle the development of the team itself. So it is better to leave the “red code” for real emergency situations.

“If everything is important, nothing is.”

Another way to implement the co-drive is to stimulate the group to find its own driving force, instead of setting the pace. If we continue to mark time, impose tight deadlines and use all our energy, the team will always be dependent on our presence, while sustainable speed is achieved, instead, when the team moves even if we are absent. To achieve this self-propulsion, we must let go of wanting to control every detail, stop making corrections that are too punctual, and allow the leadership to become more informal.

To give an example: we would be sitting in the passenger seat, instead of always driving the vehicle: in this way, instead of having our eyes fixed on the road and on traffic, we can concentrate on the driver, observe it and understand what it can improve.

Another point to address when we want to adopt a co-drive for our company is the one related to the tasks to be performed. We are used to take care of everything. We must therefore begin to delegate and try to learn how to group. Since the beginning of our careers we have learned to break down problems into smaller pieces, and then assign them to specialized people so they can deal with them efficiently. The important thing is, therefore, to make all these specialists work harmoniously. Everyone will have to trust the ability of others, and work symmetrically. However, it is not a simple team work : rather than desk problem solving, we move on to something collective, which consists in get together often, tackle problems openly and invite others to improve our decisions.

In essence, if we choose to implement the co-drive, we must also estimate that we must also change mentality. Headhunters call the change of perspective from Ego-drive to Co-drive, the “executive maturity”. A mature leader, in fact, has only one question in mind: how to help others perform? Certainly it takes a certain level and certainty to act in this way, and the commitment to pause one’s ego could be high. But once we succeed in improving the abilities of our collaborators, we will also be able to enjoy a higher level of freedom, while we see that everything runs smoothly even if we are not present.