Procrastination Can Derail a Leader’s Career

Are you a leader who has a habit of procrastination?

Sometimes this habit stems from deep-seated reasons and sometimes it is simply caused by being overwhelmed.  Either way, when you procrastinate you might find yourself putting off difficult conversations, missing deadlines, avoiding giving critical feedback to a direct report, or tackling a tough project.

You might think no one notices these slips but they do, and it is impacting your career.  If this is a habit of yours then you must stay in integrity as a leader and address it. 

The first step is to try to understand why it happens

If it is because you are too overwhelmed and have too much on your plate, then you have got to address that.  When you try to juggle multiple priorities without a good time management system, you can suddenly feel out of control by everything there is to do. 

As you get overwhelmed, tasks build up, and nothing gets done because you do not know where to start.  Once there is a system in place, something to keep you on track, you will feel more in control and start seeing measurable results.  You can read about my entire time management system in chapter seven of my book.

If, however, you think the habit stems from something deeper as is the case with many of my clients then that needs to be addressed differently.  As I work with clients around their habit of procrastination, we sometimes find that it is due to control, fear, Impostor Syndrome, all three, or many other reasons.  It is not unusual to spend multiple sessions unpacking these inner roadblocks. 

The beauty of coaching is that a client does not have to wait to have all the answers before they can combat their unhealthy habits.  We work to uncover the answers while they are actively practicing the new skill in real-time. 

One thing we look at is the impact of this behavior on their organization, team, and the stress that avoidance puts on them personally.  We then identify opportunities in their workday for them to practice doing the very thing they are trying to avoid.       

I have my clients start small because changing a habit can be terrifying. 

Then we debrief how it went, how they felt, what feedback they received, and what was the impact.  Practicing in real-time also helps to build confidence, especially if procrastination is related to Impostor Syndrome.   

Being an impactful leader requires a skillset like no other. You must continuously assess your abilities, be open to change, and subject yourself to hard work.  But it is worth it when you receive the respect, trust, and acknowledgment that you deserve – or that long-awaited promotion. 

If procrastination is a habit for you first determine why it is a habit. Then if related to overwhelm, put a robust time management system in place.  If it is due to something deeper it might be best to work with a coach who can help you determine the impact of the behavior, practice new skills in real-time, and measure the outcome.  Being in a management role can be tough. Don’t let procrastination derail your growth and influence as a top-notch leader.

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