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The Case Against Haste: Why Slowing Down Is Good for Business

When leaders slow down and connect empathetically with their people, everything about the morale, productivity, and tenor of the team can change for the better

By | Angela Cox, PhD |

The American author and educator, Stephen Covey, once said, “Efficiency with people is ineffective. With people, fast is slow and slow is fast.”

My own life-rule about this, which I utilize frequently when coaching leaders, is “Haste is a form of violence.” When we move with haste, things get broken. People get hurt. If you knew you were about to step into a child’s playroom in the dark, would you move with haste? Not if you had seen a child playing with LEGOs earlier that day! (That’s called context.)

And yet, every day we move through life ignoring the context of the people around us, stumbling over building blocks and causing unnecessary pain. Many leaders mistake haste for urgency. The former is movement for the sake of busyness — to look important and/or to convey confidence or competence. In a world where busyness is valorized, but slow and deliberate is often denigrated, people wear their back-to-back-to-back meetings like badges of honor. But at the end of the day, what was truly accomplished, besides hours filled with talking but empty of true connection?

Related: Don’t Let Urgency Bias Derail Your Long-term Business Goals

Urgency is intentional and purposeful. It still requires us to move quickly, but you can often feel the difference even in your physiological reactions to haste versus urgency.

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