How to Combat a Culture of False Urgency at Work
A constant state of overwhelm and reactivity can drain team energy, increase stress and can even lead to burnout.
Some leaders ruthlessly prioritize to ensure important work is not compromised at the cost of urgent actions. Other leaders treat every request as a priority and don’t pay attention to how much something deserves their attention.
Attaching a heightened sense of urgency to every request makes it difficult for their teams to get any meaningful work done. Being bombarded with a false sense of urgency makes them operate like a mad powerhouse — people in the team keep running in many different directions without actually reaching anywhere.
Jumping from one task to another and being in a constant state of overwhelm and reactivity can drain team energy, increase stress and can even lead to burnout. When employees don’t get time to do deep work or experience the joy and pleasure of being in a state of flow, they feel unhappy, stuck and dissatisfied.
Mindless busyness due to a false sense of urgency does not lead to progress, it only adds to stress.
Expecting your team to take urgent requests seriously and attend to them in a timely manner isn’t wrong. It’s counterproductive when every other request is given a high priority and the team is expected to jump at the chance.
It’s your responsibility as a leader to build the right culture in your organization — one where impact, creative thinking and long-term value creation is valued over unwanted chaos, firefighting and reactive thinking.
If leaders don’t articulate their priorities clearly, then the people around them don’t know what their own priorities should be. Time and energy and capital get wasted — Robert Iger
Here are the five practices that can turn your leadership style from ever-present panic, anxiety or fear to intentionality in thinking and calmness in body language.