A trap that many of us fall into is to focus on the things that scream loudest. These might include meeting an important deadline, getting a monthly report submitted or general day-to-day operations. While not literally true, I call these things paperwork. They are important, they have become urgent and as leaders we must do them.
The problem is, if we focus only on the paperwork, the people work doesn’t get done. Simply walking around your workplace, asking your staff how they are going and what you can do to help them do their job, is people work. Getting to know your staff as people, not just as a way to get the work done, is people work. Building their strengths, lifting their confidence, giving them opportunities to shine, is people work.
There is no escaping the need for paperwork to be done (though many of us make the situation worse by being disorganised). The biggest potential for impact and our most important responsibility as leaders is to grow and develop our people.