Leadership: Processes over people?

by Marteka Swaby September 15, 2016

Leadership: Processes over people?

Tipping the scales?


I am undoubtedly a people person. I love people and draw my energy from being around people. I love spending time with people, understanding their perspective and getting a different take on life.


For me there has always been a clear distinction in leaders who are process driven and leaders who are relationally driven. I am more often drawn to leaders that are great people leaders and dismiss the need for processes.


I have just spent 3 days of my life completing PRINCE2 training, as a fully qualified project manager I can officially manage a project successfully from start to finish using PRINCE2 principles. However, I am not convinced this is actually useful.


So, is mundane and routine planning really what we need to pioneer innovative and successful businesses, to improve our relationships and help us stress less or even increase happiness? I think my answer is still a BIG fat NO! However, I do recognise that planning certainly has a place in successful leadership.


A process for peace


For many years I have worked within the field of anxiety and depression, particularly addiction. I have found tools that help people to plan their time and consider different options when experiencing a crisis can actually be quite helpful when written down.


This weekend I sat and wrote out a detailed plan of my goals and aims for the next 12 months in work, life and business and realised just how useful it was to see this written down. It became clear to me that process can actually be useful and I traded some of my fear, anxiety and worry for peace as the process actually helped me to gain clarity, considering what I really should spend my time doing and what I should avoid or say no to each day.


I am sure not everything I have written down will happen exactly as I planned it, but having a map to consider which direction I am going helps me to feel more in control and less stressed. I am also sure that life will deal me a curve ball at some point and I will have to deal with the unexpected. But this is ok and planning does not mean we can’t make room for those spontaneous surprises, both good or bad.


What is the end game?


I think it is ok to go through life with little focus or direction and leave it to fate. Some people have the most luck and get to where they want with no plan, no map or no direction. If you are that kind of person than I salute you.But if you are feeling like things are out of control perhaps it is worth considering what is the end game?

Sometimes the source of your anxiety is not always known. If you are experiencing excessive fear or worry, trouble concentrating, feeling tense and jumpy, irritable, restless and anticipating the worst perhaps it is time to sit down and consider your options. Leadership is not just for those in the boardroom or for business. We are all leaders in charge of shaping our own destiny. You are the master of your own happiness and only you can make the choice to change it.


If you are the type of person that is driven by process, then it could be time to cut some slack on the reigns, allowing room for something spontaneous. I am sure if I used the planning process as something that is rigid and fixed it could be a similar experience to the PRINCE2 methodology and I would not be very inspired to make any changes.


However, if you consider planning more like a guide, something you can refer back to and check if you are on track, then surely this could be useful in helping to bring about changes, to grow, perhaps a clear plan will help you to have the kind of future you have always wanted.


I will never place process over people and I certainly value relationships and people far above all processes. However, this weekend I have learnt that I can have both and they are not mutually exclusive and I encourage you to take up a leadership role within your own life. Whether it is an area of change at home, work or in business.

If you are stressed or anxious because you hate your job, or perhaps you are struggling in your relationship and hoping to make changes, then perhaps it is time for you to take your first 3 steps towards positive thinking. Download my FREE ebook today.


Marteka Swaby
Marteka Swaby