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Boredom - a leadership dilemma

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Boredom with that which once brought you joy, or at least provided a level of intrigue is certainly one manifestation that some form of renewal might be required in your daily work activities. To cope with boredom many leaders turn to delegation with the hope that the absence of those things delegated will allow the leader to focus on more important and exciting areas. While delegation is often seen as a solid approach to expanding one’s leadership it rarely results in increasing the time available to the leader as the additional time is simply replaced by other mundane work related activities. Thus the promise of delegation is lost and may even cause the leader to resent the fact that they now have lost control and gained “nothing” in return.

One form of renewal might be asking questions of fellow leaders and followers instead of continuously providing well scripted answers. Of course this approach is often seen as at odds with today’s expectations of leaders. However, the learning it provides might result in an innovative idea or refreshing approach to an old dilemma thus reinvigorating all in the organization. A sense of loss seems to be at the heart of the feeling of exhaustion thus any form of renewal, whether it is time, energy, or ideals should serve us well. Putting the renewal of time aside for a moment I re-energize through both quiet time and running. I am not sure I have ever been burned out or not, perhaps it is a lack of “mindfulness” to use O’Neill’s (1993) terminology, I do know however, that I require moments of daily quiet time and weekly exercise in order to stay focused. In fact, when I cannot find time for either it actually becomes a source of stress; perhaps that is realization enough that renewal is required.

O'Neil, J. R. (1993). The paradox of success: when winning at work means losing at life: a book of renewal for leaders. GP Putnam's Sons.

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