3 Common Mistakes Leaders Make Investing Their Energy

There are three common mistakes that leaders can make when investing their leadership capital, which hurt both their efficiency and their effectiveness.

1. Taking the ‘Peanut Butter’ Approach

The peanut butter approach is when a leader spreads their time evenly among all their employees, like spreading peanut butter evenly on a piece of bread. And, leaders do this because it feels fair to everyone.

So, what is wrong with this approach? Surely spreading your time evenly between employees is the right thing to do?


  • Some people want less attention – any more feels like micromanagement.
  • In contrast, others need more.

With this in mind, the leaders should determine how much time each of one of their employee’s needs to thrive, and then invest their time accordingly.

2. Giving Time to People in the Order they ask for it

Imagine if you gave out money in the order people asked for it – nobody would do that.

And, yet, many managers will give out their time in the order people ask for it.

The problem with this approach is that it fails to prioritise the leader’s time. Further, it can also encourages team members to constantly take up the leader’s time, rather than solving issues for themselves.

The solution? Instead of being reactive and waiting for people to ask for time, the best leaders are proactive and go where their time is needed most.

3. Following the Path of Least Resistance

This is a particularly difficult one to avoid, because humans are wired to seek out the path of least resistance.

But, if you as a leader are spending most of your time with people you like, or people who are easy to manage, and avoiding people who are difficult to manage, you are making a mistake.

The issues with this approach include:

  • Not solving issues that need to be resolved; and
  • (Instead) dedicating time and energy to low-return
  • efforts.

Spending excessive time with high performers does not contribute a great deal to delivering outstanding results.


A leader’s time is a precious resource.

You need to think about:

  • How you invest your energy the same way you think about how you invest your budget.
  • Where should you double-down?
  • Which people or teams can you trust to get the job done, without as much of your time?
  • The more you value your own time, the more strategic you will be with how you spend it. And that will lead to better results for your entire team.

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