Do you ever have themes appear in your life? I do. Pacing (not the walking nervously back and forth kind) has been a recurrent theme since the beginning of 2014 for me.
More specifically – the pace at which I work, play, run and how it affects, influences, pleases, and annoys others. Some examples occurred over the last few weeks:
– I ran with friends that invited me to exercise with them. They’re training for a 10K. I’m thinking about registering for a local 10K. Apparently they’re running to win their age class. Running for me is recreation and exercise. I practically killed myself keeping up with them and barely did. Boy did I pay the next day.
– Not having learned my lesson, I ran with another friend having expressed my dismay at my recent experience. She is what I’d call a jogger, not a runner. I ended up running most of the trail backward to challenge myself and engaged in reverse running face-to-face conversation with her. I think she felt deflated and I know I felt that I didn’t get much of a workout.
– I volunteered for a committee formed to define an important job description. I and other volunteers were assigned tasks at the close of the last meeting. I emailed my findings to the other committee members the following week, expecting that it would be useful for others to see the work done already and to get feedback. I heard nothing back for more than a week. I was told today that I should’ve waited to present the findings with the others at the next meeting to be held in a month. I feel under appreciated.
– I went shopping with a friend. We are the kind of friends that don’t see each other for years and then fall back into step and in sync as if the time never passed. We’re impatient at the same things and dawdle over the same things. We had a fantastic experience.
I realized that the not-so-good experiences and the great ones relate to pacing. I worked (or ran) too fast or too slow and it was frustrating for all involved. The last experience was, as Goldilocks might say, “just right”.
As a manager, the pace you set is crucial to having an effective team. Neither running laps around your team nor moving slower is rewarding or productive. There is no perfect pace, but the right one is one that you communicate and support for your team.
Frenetic is just fine if there’s an urgent situation, but not for sustained periods of time. Slow and steady is ok if consistency and long-term effectiveness is what you’re after, but not good for fast-paced project deadlines.
Communicate up, down, and sideways about the pace you’re setting; set expectations clearly, check in on deliverables and you’re much more likely to have a great experience.