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How to Put Yourself First When You’re Leading a Team

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

When you’re leading and managing a team, it’s hard to find time for yourself.

In other words, when you’re taking care of everyone else around you, when do you take care of yourself? It’s the age-old question that many leaders face.

It may be challenging to put into practice what you preach, but it is possible. And you should set a positive example for your team because you can’t truly take care of anyone if you’re not taking care of yourself first.

The Art of Saying “No”

This goes for everyone. Saying “no” may not come naturally for most, but it’s an important practice to adopt. If you want to set an example for your team and give them your utmost attention, you cannot say “yes” to every request. It’s important to say “no” to meetings and to delegate less important tasks so that you have the time to give your attention where it’s due.

Saying “no” also helps you set healthy boundaries with those you report to and those you manage. You cannot take on every task and be there for everyone if you lack the time for yourself. Set clear expectations from the beginning. Doing so helps you set an example for the team you’re leading, and it encourages your employees to value and respect their time.

Turn Off Your Devices

We’re most distracted when we’re always glued to our screens. It doesn’t set a good example for those you’re leading when your attention is on a device and not them. This goes for ourselves too. Learning to reduce our screen time helps to reduce our overall stress levels. It allows you to take a step back to be more mindful and present.

While it may feel like everyone needs your attention when emails and notifications are coming in, that isn’t the case. As a leader, you get to set the pace of your day and what emails get answered when. Try to get into the practice of stepping away from the screen a few times a day.

Structure Your Days

You don’t want to burnout, and many leaders do. They find themselves in constant work-mode, not knowing when to shut off. That’s why it’s important to structure your days. This not only creates clear expectations with your team, but it establishes a consistent routine for you.

For example, you can set standing meetings with your team to prevent impromptu meetings from happening that throw off your schedule. You can also set specific office hours where your employees can check in with you, and you can have specific times where you sign on and off for the day. This helps to ensure that your time is respected and it creates space for you.

And when you learn to put yourself first, you’ll find that you’re taking better care of those you’re leading. It also sets a great example because seeing you take care of yourself gives your employees permission to take care of themselves. And that’s what you want in a team.

Looking for more leadership resources to incorporate in your day-to-day? We can help.

Your employees will thank you!

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