Busyness is the death of leaders | Leadership Development blog by Brighten Project

Busyness: The Death Of Leadership

thought leadership May 20, 2023


Being busy is normal. How often do you ask someone "how are you?" and their response is "i'm good, busy - you know how it is".  It's super easy to get caught up in the tasks, the meetings and the to-dos of urgent priorities that we lose sight of the big picture and our true purpose as leaders and that's when we seriously damage our ability to do a good job. 

For leaders, busy is A TRAP. 


Why "busyness" is bad bb!

When we're "BUSY" and not "EFFECTIVE" is usually means we're overly occupied with tasks and activities, often at the expense of more important responsibilities. For leaders, the transition from being an individual contributor to managing a team can be overwhelming and you might find themselves drowning in tasks, admin work, and daily firefighting, leaving little time for strategic planning and decision-making. You can also find that having the list of actions feels safe, while some of your leadership responsibilities like coaching your team or writing strategy don't feel as safe and easy to complete. Some of those long term actions don't have immediate results, unlike writing an email or building a report.

There's two elements we have to be aware of as leaders

1. Being "busy" so we have a sense of completion and immediate results. Being busy feels good and makes you feel like you're contributing. That's why it's a trap - because it's making us feel like we're doing a good job when we're busy doing all the things - but are we doing the right things?

2. Being "busy" because we feel safer in these actionable tasks. Spending time creating a strategy, doing research and finding insights to help guide you forward doesn't deliver short term results, it's about long term thinking and long term vision. 


When we focus on the busywork, the easy stuff it can *seriously* impede our ability to deliver long term results and success for ourselves, our team and the business.


  • 💥 We stunt our own growth and development: When we are consumed by busy work, we have little opportunity to reflect on our leadership style, learn from our experiences, and grow as leaders. This  prevents us from reaching our full potential and limits our ability to inspire and motivate their teams because how can we grow our people if we aren't growing ourselves?
  • 💥 We get in the way of our own strategic thinking and decision making. Effective leaders need to think strategically, focusing on long-term goals and planning the steps to achieve them. Being too busy with routine tasks and immediate concerns can make it difficult for us to see the bigger picture and make well-informed decisions.
  • 💥 We damage the growth of our people by trying to control too much. Leaders often struggle with delegation, either because we believe we can do tasks better ourselves, or we don't think we have time to train and handover or we don't want to lose control. However, effective delegation is essential for us and our teams because it helps empower our people, teaches them new skills, shows that we trust them and allows us to focus on other more important responsibilities.
  • 💥 It SUCKS our energy. Constant busyness can lead to chronic stress and burnout, affecting our mental and physical wellbeing  - we feel terrible and we can't be our best selves as leaders.


Think differently!

How do we switch from busy mode to effective mode? By managing our time!

Let's make better decisions with our time! Prioritise what will have the biggest impact on our team and business and focus our time and energy there. 

Which means we become better leaders. We develop habits (hello time management, commerciality, decision making) that serve us now and in the future.

We deliver better results. Because we're focusing on long term strategic thinking we are making decisions that set up the business for future success and results, while letting our team focus on short term actions delivering immediate results.

We create better teams. We're growing our team, empowering them to learn new skills and creating an environment where people (including ourselves) can thrive. 




To help leaders develop the time management skills they need to succeed, I've created a free resource called "Time Trainer: How To Manage Your Time Like A Boss & Go From “Busy” To “Effective”.  A free workshop packed with practical advice and proven strategies to help you make the most of your time and focus on what truly matters.

  • Learn how successful leaders perceive time to get shit done.
  • Cut your goals up into daily and weekly priorities.
  • Steal two epic time planning templates to start using today!

Get Instant Access Now >>


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