I recently came across an interesting blog post by Cheryl Bachelder, formerly CEO of Popeye's Restaurants. She executed a remarkable turnaround of the restaurant chain during her tenure there. Bachelder is a strong advocate for servant leadership. In this blog post, she describes the symptoms of what she calls "hurry sickness" - arguing that always being in a hurry actually damages the organization you are trying to lead. Here's an excerpt.
Full disclosure: I suffer from what psychologists’ call “hurry sickness.” I didn’t know it had a name until recently, but nonetheless, I’ve always known that I suffer from it. I jam-pack my days. I overschedule. I say “yes” way too often. The benefits of my disease include getting a lot done, being admired by others who do less, and feeling an almost constant adrenaline rush. It is exciting to be in a hurry! But there are serious downsides to this disease. One is that you live in a constant state of anxious worry about dropping one of the plates you are spinning. Another is that you will likely have stress-related ailments, some harmless and some life-threatening (eventually).
But here is something you may not have thought about as much. You can’t serve the people or the organization well, and always be in a hurry.
Here is a short list of the problems for Dare to Serve leaders who hurry:
Your thinking suffers. You are responsible for calling out the daring destination for your team or organization. They are counting on you. It needs to be thoughtfully developed and soundly assessed – before you risk their lives on your plan. Great thinking does not happen in a hurry. It needs rest, quiet, and breathing room to develop.
Your people suffer. You are called to serve the people well. But you cannot serve them well without spending time with them. Unhurried time. Time to know their strengths, values, experiences, and concerns. When your calendar is overcrowded, you almost always will choose an obligation over a commitment to your people. Not a good idea.
Your results suffer. When you try to do too much, you get less done well. You are human – and you simply can’t get it all done to perfection. Your team needs you to lead them to a win – to top performance. You’re not going to get them there without focus on a few, vital things.