3 Steps to Making Prioritization a Key Leadership Component

By January 13, 2020 No Comments

***This article is inspired by chapter 2 of John C. Maxwell’s book
“Developing the Leader Within You 2.0” – “The Key to Leadership: Priorities”***

Jamie Cornell stated, “Time cannot and will not be managed, and you will never get more of it. The problem is rooted in the choices you are making with others and your own choices. You choose how to use it every moment of every day, whether you believe you do or not.”

The reality is that the farther you go in your leadership journey, the more decisions you will have to make. Many people are suffering from “decision fatigue” in our culture. We have thousands of bits of information coming at us daily. On top of that, your followers are needing or wanting your input. Many times, they want you to decide on matters that they can and should decide themselves.

If you don’t prioritize your life, others will force their priorities onto you. That’s no way to live or lead. One of my favorite books on the topic of prioritization is Essentialism by Greg McKeown. The key idea in the book is “less but better.” McKeown shares that the word “priority” came about in the 1400s and was singular until around the 1900s when inventions became more automated and complex. Over the last 100+ years we have embraced the idea of having multiple priorities. However, when you have many priorities, no one thing truly is your priority.

So, how do you navigate this complex world full of information and decision-making? Consider the following:

1 – Determine to do what only you can do

The first step is to block out time and write down matters most for your role and skill set. What are the items that only you can or should do? The list is actually much shorter than you think.

2 – Delegate tasks that others can do

Make a list of your tasks, then consider who can do them at least 75% as well as you can. Next, meet with the people with whom you will delegate and assign them the appropriate tasks. If they need training, invest the time to do so. You will probably be surprised at how quickly others can accomplish what you’ve been holding onto for far too long.

3 – Dump the tasks that are not advancing your business or cause

There are a variety of tasks that we continually do simply because we’ve been doing them for a long time. Schedule time each quarter to review your tasks to see if they even matter any longer. Change occurs at a rapid pace. Some items that were important for you in the recent past no longer matter today. Have the courage to dump those items. One powerful exercise is to create a “stop doing” list. What you stop doing is often as important as what you continue to do.


Prioritization is simple, but not easy. You may have to overcome limiting beliefs, fears, and doubts to cut items out of your workload. As a leader, you must continually remind yourself that busyness doesn’t equal productivity. Your followers need you to continually filter what matters most, remove what isn’t working, and invest more in what is generating the best results. When you do this, you will begin to see improved effectiveness in both yourself and your followers.

Take your next step in leadership growth by becoming a master or prioritization.

Until next time…make today GREAT!

***If you need help developing a personal growth plan or implementing a leadership development program for your team, please contact me. I’d love to talk with you to determine how I can help!

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