Archive for September, 2014

Why Procrastination is Your Friend

Posted on September 27, 2014. Filed under: expectations, Leadership and teams |

It feels a little odd to type this title, especially as most sources label procrastination as a thief and a detractor.

To me procrastination is a perfect example of an age old magicians trick. Not sleight of hand, but the misdirect. A misdirect is something that attracts your attention (such as the magician’s pretty assistant) with the goal of drawing your attention away from the real goings on.

Procrastination is like the mind’s way of distracting you from what you really ought to be attending to.
If you procrastinate you could gain some great insights by noticing when you procrastinate. Then if you can identify the trigger for the procrastination you will have clarity on what needs to be done, and perhaps why you are attempting to avoid it.

For example, many managers that I have worked with procrastinate about conducting staff performance reviews. There are many reasons in this procrastination: not enough time to do them all, too many staff, some awkward conversations may need to be had, there will be questions about company decisions that are out of your control or that you didn’t like either.

Once the reason for the procrastination is clear then you have the gift and why it is your friend.
If a performance feedback process is too time consuming, then could the process be adjusted so there are shorter and more frequent discussions?
If there are too many staff, can someone else who works closely with them be engaged in the process of gathering insights about performance and then supporting the delivery of the feedback?
Any conversation that is anticipated to be or expected to be awkward needs to be had before it goes ignored for so long that it becomes a major problem. A topic that is awkward now will have additional awkwardness in 6 months time because the staff member will (and rightly so) ask why it has taken six months to be mentioned.

Just like a friend who will tell you that you have something stuck in your teeth after sharing lunch, procrastination tells you where a challenge may be. Once you address and resolve the challenge, then the need for the misdirect of the procrastination goes away.

in some cases procrastination about leadership tasks is a way of uncovering that a person never wanted a leadership role and will have far better personal job satisfaction doing what they did before they were promoted into a leadership role.

In anticipation of comments and your thoughts.

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