Three little words for busy leaders…

Sometimes people feel disconnected from us, because we come off as “too busy.”

Good news – there are three words that can reverse this dysfunction.

A piece of equipment went missing, and I wasn’t told about it.  I found out accidentally a few weeks later, that this $75 piece of equipment had been lost or stolen. I knew Nicole must have known about it, so I asked her why she didn’t let me know.

“You’ve been so busy; I didn’t want to bother you.”

Here’s what’s good – when you work with people who filter themselves, and protect you from trivia that they can take care of themselves, your time is better spent, and they are more empowered.

Here’s what’s bad – when you project such an air of “busyness” that the people around you err on the side of keeping you in the dark simply because you seem less receptive to any information.

Here’s a solution – make a habit of using these three words when you know you are projecting that “too busy” image:

“I have time.”

This comes from a fine book that I read recently — Quint Studer’s Hardwiring Excellence is written specifically for hospitals, but can be applied in many other organizations.

It stems from the notion that patients are often sensitive to the over-worked, harried doctors and nurses, and let pain or other needs escalate to a crisis point before asking for attention. This lack of communication leads to an even bigger problem down the line.

The solution? Make a habit of saying, “I have time.”

You know you’ve been there —

Someone approaches you. You’re a bit distracted, perhaps nervously glancing at your phone or computer, when they say “never mind — I’ll talk to you later.” And you say — “great – thanks,” and you’re relieved.

[To use “DiSC-speak”, this is so common when a high S approaches a high D or high i.]

Next time, relax, make eye contact, smile, and say “No, it’s cool. I have time.”

Make that a habit, and see what happens.

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