Leadership Myth #1 – Multi-tasking

Since I’m in the process of recruiting for my leadership team and doing some interviewing to fill positions at my job, I get to hear people laud themselves about their abilities pretty frequently. I keep hearing about this mythical quality that people say that they excell in. This mythical gift people claim to hold that helps them be better leaders and better employees. This mythical gift is called – x-ray vision! Wait…not quite, but its pretty close. This mythical gift is called – “multi-tasking.”

Multi-tasking belongs in the same boat as levitating, x-ray vision, Big Foot and other cultural phenomenons that have ZERO proof of existance.

Allow me to explain. People say that they can multi-task, or do multiple tasks at once. If that’s true, then why do we turn the music down in the car when we are looking for an address? Since when did our ears affect our sight? Or why do we tell STOP talking to someone in person to send a text message? Our speech either slows down or stops completely when we start typing on our Blackberry’s and iPhones.

Similarly, I don’t believe you when you say you can multi-task in a employment or ministry setting. For example, if you are responsible for 3 projects that run concurrently, you cannnot do them all at the sametime. Let’s say you are responsible for small group development, multi-media and youth ministry. You CANNOT do the three of them at once. You’ll work on one at a time, quickly moving from one to the next. You’ll make your reports for media, write your message for youth ministry and then write an outline for small groups – ONE AT A TIME. You would need three hands to write all three things simultaneously. You aren’t multitasking, you’re moving from one thing to the next. See the difference?

Multi-tasking is a myth. You can’t do multiple tasks at once, so stop telling people “I’m a great multitasker.” Tell them “I can move very quickly from one task to the next.” Its not as pretty as multi-tasking, but quick and effecient is a fantastic quality to have.

Now, stop and re-read this post because you were probably trying catch-up on sports highlights, listen to the new Coldplay release and read this blog all at the same time and didn’t really understand what I was saying.


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