I’m willing to bet that at least 90% of the people reading this use a “To Do” list regularly. Perhaps you have a daily list, or a weekly or monthly list. However long your list timeline, it’s something you use to make sure you stay on track with the tasks that you know you need to get done. You happily cross items off your list as you accomplish them. It’s a wonderful thing.
But I’ve found that extraordinary leaders don’t simply lead by managing task after task. They lead by example, by creating a vision of a better future and inspiring people to follow them to that vision. They have the leader’s mindset to lead based on their beliefs, their values, not just from accomplishing daily tasks.
Do you have a “To Be” list?
Most leaders will tell me that they use a “To Do” list, but almost none of them have a “To Be” list. Why is that?
What is a “To Be” list? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. You sit down and write down the kind of person that you choose to become. This takes some real thought and reflection on your part. To make this effective, you need to identify your values and then think about the person that you want to be in the context of your values.
The most important thing for us as leaders to acknowledge is that if we want our people to do well, then we must ensure that our people are well. In other words, if we want to make sure that someone’s behavior is good, then we have to ensure that they are the kind of person who could produce good behavior. I call that the difference between “to do,” the things I do, and “to be,” the person I am.
To have a good “To Be” list, you must also have a “Stop Doing” list. For example, I have stopped reading the newspaper in the morning. I‘ve discovered that – for me, personally – reading the newspaper every morning does not materially affect or influence my performance in business that day.
Instead, in the morning, I read something that nourishes my mind and nurtures my heart. I read something that gets me going in the right way with the right direction with the kind of attitudes that can achieve great results. And in the evening, I’ll catch up on my reading, including the newspaper.
So, my recommendation is to include writing a “To Be” list and a “Stop Doing” list on your “To Do” list. Start leading as the person that you are, and the person you want to be, rather than simply from the tasks you need to accomplish.
What will you put on your “To Be” list?
Tammy Berberick is the President and CEO of Crestcom International, a worldwide leadership, sales, and management training business in over 60 countries. You can read more of Tammy’s writings on leadership, purpose, and life on her blog, Tammy’s Corner: Everyday Wisdom for Business Leaders.