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The Creative Mind is an Empty Box

Rants from a CEO: Stop Trying So Hard to Look Busy, I’ll Respect You More

February 23, 2017 | by David Moncur

“I always have more confidence in and respect for employees who consistently deliver great work that seems manageable for them to achieve (even if it’s not).”

Many people think they have to look really really busy or look like they’re working really really hard in order to get noticed and become valued. I actually think the people who make their jobs look easy, and still get great results are more impressive.

Experiencing success and standing out doesn’t come down to blood, sweat and tears—it’s all about control, presentation and perseverance. I always have more confidence in and respect for employees who consistently deliver great work that seems manageable for them to achieve (even if it’s not).

Be in Control

Some people are under the impression that they need to jump through hoops in order to be seen and respected as a hard worker. So, they tend to operate at a lighting pace—multi-tasking, constantly taking on new projects and putting in extra hours at the office and at home. And the higher up the org chart that person is, the bigger the problem becomes.

I find that this type of person also often has a bad attitude or tends to boast about their extravagant efforts. Whenever I hear someone say they “stayed up all night”, “put in countless hours” or “had to work really hard” in order to get a project done, an alarm bell immediately goes off in my mind. I either A: don’t believe it, or B: think the project is too much for them to handle. Really, my reaction is the complete opposite of what they intended.

Sure, occasionally there are hot projects, tight deadlines or tough clients that make one project harder than another, but if something feels near impossible, it’s probably because that person is working harder, not smarter or some integral part of their process is broken.

Presentation is Everything

Again, “hard work” isn’t the be-all-end-all. When it comes to gaining the confidence and respect of others it’s all about performance and perception, and I stand by the saying that “presentation is everything.”

All great leaders in history have one thing in common: presentation is one of their best skills. When someone presents himself or herself well, they appear to be in control and gain the confidence of others. Further, when someone brings a positive attitude to the table, it inspires engagement, encouragement and enthusiasm from the people they work with. For those who project stress, self-consciousness and negativity, the associated reactions are the opposite.

“When someone presents himself or herself well, they appear to be in control and gain the confidence of others.”

Achieving Greatness Comes with Perseverance

Beyond gaining recognition and respect from others, achieving greatness in the long run also requires patience and perseverance.

People are amazed by artists like Henri Matisse who can create an incredible masterpiece in mere minutes and make it look effortless; or racecar drivers like Jeff Gordon who can maintain cool control at 200 mph. But behind their natural talent are many many years of education, practice and self-discipline. They never quit or complained—instead they persistently continued to learn from their experiences, take on new challenges and push themselves to achieve the unlikely.

Work isn’t easy, that’s why it’s called “work.” But, if you can maintain control, present yourself well, persevere and still get great results, everything you do will make a bigger impact. So, stop trying so hard to look busy! I’ll respect you more.

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