Leadership and Management

Leaders Who Are Competitive May Fall Into False Urgency

As a leader, have you ever experienced a day where you are left feeling confused and not knowing where to put your proper priorities?

It could be that you are facing an overwhelming situation where everything is getting pressured or all at once. In such moments, it’s crucial not to panic and to assess the situation calmly.

Competitive leaders, in particular, may be prone to succumbing to this false sense of urgency, driven by the desire to outperform others or meet unrealistic expectations. However, rushing into decisions without proper consideration can harm your team and undermine their morale.

Therefore, it’s essential to stay composed, prioritize tasks thoughtfully, and lead by example, demonstrating purposeful and decisive action without falling into the trap of false urgency.

What is false urgency?

“When everything is urgent, nothing is urgent” is a popular phrase used by many. ****False urgency, according to experts, is a state of unproductive busyness that doesn’t lead to meaningful progress. It is when you think that everything is important and you need to take care of all of the tasks at once. Also, you might find yourself panicking too.

Here are the ways to do it:

Prioritize Effectively

When everything seems confusing, it is because you do not know which needs to be focused on. Make sure to list out your tasks for the day and determine which should be at the top of the list. Studies show that humans have a tendency to prioritize tasks that have shorter deadlines. Keep in mind that shorter deadlines do not mean it should be done first. Why?

You might miss out on the efforts that you have made toward long-term goals. For example, task A needs to be done with shorter deadlines, but it has no impact on your company’s growth in the future. Meanwhile, task B has longer deadlines, but if it is not prioritized, your company’s growth will be affected or your company might suffer losses.

If you want to prioritize effectively, thinking about the positive outcomes of stopping something you’ve already put effort into can also be a good plan.

Recognize External Pressures

Make sure you notice outside pressures that might make things seem more urgent than they really are. Encourage your team to ask if tasks are really urgent before jumping into them.

Examples of external pressures can be seen as:

  • Colleagues or managers setting unrealistic deadlines
  • Excessive amount of tasks, urgent meetings and expecting rapid responses for minor issues
  • Urgent requests that do not align with team’s priorities or timelines

True Sense of Urgency

Yes, there is a true sense of urgency, the opposite of false. While false urgency is negative, positive urgency is the opposite. It is a good sign if you are going to be at work feeling determined, alert, and trying to achieve goals swiftly and effectively.

To create a culture of true urgency, leaders can follow these strategies based on expert insights:

  1. Providing data to understand the urgency logically and emotionally
  2. Listen to the front-line employees involved and ask what their concerns are regarding the tasks. Make them understand their roles
  3. Face urgency every day by acting purposefully and decisively in a calm manner, leading by example, learning from mistakes, and avoiding over-analysis
  4. Demonstrate a purposeful drive, respond promptly, and avoid getting stuck in unnecessary details to set the tone for urgency within the team
  5. Educate the team and show how, without urgency, it may impact their work, and communicate the vision and benefits of progress to unleash energy in the workforce

Without creating fear, chaos or confusion, this genuine sense of urgency can lead to increased motivation, productivity, and effective problem-solving within organizations.

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