Busyness is infectious. Most of us, whether we’re at home or at work, will find it hard to sit still and do nothing if someone near us is busy and active. Ultimately, we’re social animals, with a sense of responsibility for the community, family or team that we’re a part of, and that drives us to want to contribute… or at least to look like we’re contributing.

But what benefit is this busyness actually bringing? How far is actually furthering your goals as a company? And how is your behaviour as a leader affecting the people who look to you as an example of how to behave? Here at Holborn Assets we think it’s a fascinating area – so here are some quick thoughts.

It’s a sign you might be confusing management with leadership

We’ve spoken here before about the change in mindset that’s required when we become senior leaders. It’s one that many of us aren’t quite ready for. Instead of leading, we continue to manage, clinging onto many of the old relationships and tasks that made us feel valued as managers. So, is your busyness a symptom of this? Are you filling your time with tasks that really you should be leaving to your managers? And are you trying to look busy because you think your team expects you to be?

As a leader, you need to build a space that allows others to shine. This takes time and a change of pace, as well as a certain lack of ego. It’s not about constant, busy micromanagement – but rather about deep, strategic thinking. Don’t be too busy to let that happen naturally.

Busyness gives the wrong impression

How do you feel when a fellow business leader tells you they’re busy? It’s great to know that their business is going well – but does that answer really give you a sense that they are focused, that they have a plan, that they’re thinking ahead, that they’re in control, or even that they enjoy their work? We’d say a categorical ‘no’ to all of those.

Reading between the lines, their sense of busyness suggests that in fact they’re overworked (or at least not good at delegating), that they’re struggling to see ahead, that they’re not in control of their workflow and that ultimately, their current role isn’t really making them happy. Now, imagine how they’re making their employees feel.

As we say, busyness is infectious – but so is focused, productive work. So, give your teams the space to do their jobs brilliantly – and give yourself the space to do yours brilliantly, too.