Time and cultivating Leadership

Fall 2020, Leadership the ”Flying Carpet”:
Health, Time, Space and Vision

Special Issue December  2020
Basic Leadership Skills course – The Apple and The Candle

  • 1 leadership journey:  semester Fall 2020
  • 4 communities: Health – Time – Space – Vision
  • 1 title: Fall 2020, Leadership the ” Flying Carpet”: Health, Time, Space and Vision
  • 4 articles:
    #Health and Leadership: how our wellbeing influences our leadership styles
    #Time and cultivating Leadership
    #Space in correlation with Leadership: How space shapes the work of leaders in times of Covid-19 and beyond
    #Vision and its connection to Leadership

Time and cultivating Leadership

Student-Authors of the course Basic Leadership Skills – Fall 2020

TIME:  Community Time Travelers

Anna Brüggemann (Germany), Comparet Clément (France), Colin Filipp (Germany), Carolin Schloßer (Germany), Vergara Salgado Maria Camila (Colombia), Ashiat Viinikainen (Nigeria), Marcella Zoccoli  (JAMK University of Applied Sciences) 

Student Editor-in-chief Fall 2020: Anna Brüggemann



“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong in its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place,
and this too will be swept away” – 
Marcus Aurelius



Time is the constant, in the fact that we exist in time. It is always here. As a matter of fact, it is possible to speculate that we are time as time does not exist without the individual. Everyone possesses a personalized clock that we carry within us. Some longer or shorter than others. In this space of time, we relate with one another, sharing moments and being co-creators of our reality. Time then in its nature becomes impersonal as well as personal. Impersonal in the sense that we now share, influence and relate with one another through these shared experiences in time.

A man dances through the waves of the river of time it always seems to elude him. Man cannot completely own time in its absoluteness. He is innately aware that he has just been given a portion of it and it’s constantly swiftly moving away from his reach; he cannot grab hold of it or make it stop doing what it does. This is described beautifully by the quote of Aurelius.

Impermanence is the nature of time and man stresses out because of his awareness of the nature of time which is forever passing. He stresses to do more in less time, all man’s technological advancements were directed towards this goal of doubling time, fast cars, fast computers, fast food, drive-throughs, speed dating, fast internet, and the list goes on. Man`s relationship with time can be seen through these actions on a mass scale. It is like we are in a race against it.

The following sections are a journey of exploration of the qualities of time and how to build ourselves as an effective leader through them. First, we look at time as a finite resource, how to make the best of this resource to enable good leadership, the learning and mastery of self-occurring through time (self-awareness), managing time and energy, and cultivating patience as a virtue


Time as a finite resource


“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You cannot own it, but you can use it.
You cannot keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”

-Harvey Mackay


It is not only in our corporate life but also in our private and personal life is time one of our most essential resources. In fact, time is the most important resource we possess since it is finite in absolute terms. Even though money, or capital, is something you can run out of it is way easier to receive new funds than to receive “new” or “extra” time.

“Lost time is never found again.” When Benjamin Franklin said these words, he was completely right, we cannot keep todays hour for tomorrow. However, we still procrastinate as if it were possible and rather do things he would consider as wasting time. But once time has been wasted, we cannot recover it again – that is why mindful time planning is an art that yields high profits.

Even the ancient Greeks already had a sense of how important it was to use your time wisely which manifests itself in another quote of Theophrastus (around 280 B.C.) who said that “time is the most valuable thing a man can spend”.

It has been established that time is finite, how does a leader use the important time available to create effective leadership with his teams. It begins first with his/her awareness of self which can only be realized in time.



Much more than simple introspection, self-knowledge is the accumulation of knowledge about one’s own person in the present moment. A deep understanding of one`s own behavior and attitude, it is the understanding of one`s intrinsic nature and how this knowledge is used as a guiding light in all our interactions.

It is essential in the world of work, and especially in positions of leadership to know oneself before trying to lead others.

Each person by his/her singularity is an individual with a distinct story and should be approached with a deep awareness of this factor. When the knowledge of oneself is deep enough, it makes it possible to combine impartiality and objectivity in perceiving situations. We can act from a rational space of mind at the same time adopting compassion and empathy. It is important that leaders can make the best of a situation in which they find themselves.

A leader who lacks the awareness of self is likened to the blind leading the blind.


« Gnothi seauton » (translated into “Know thyself”)    – Socrates


By means of this sentence, Socrates tells us that it is by first doing work on oneself that one will better understand others. What a better ally than time to get to know yourself. It allows continuous learning about one’s own self. The journey it offers will be fueled by successes and failures that will take place throughout one’s journey.

With time, self-awareness is increased, and the quality of leadership is enhanced as we become more familiar with ourselves. It could be compared to a good wine that, over time, develops its aromas and offers a richer taste.

With self-awareness and self-mastery, the use of time as a tool and resource may become a little easier. Awareness of the self may make the management of time and energy easier to approach.


Time management as energy management

Firstly, it is crucial to understand how we define time. Time should not be considered as money because you can have more money, but not more time. Time is more closely related to energy; thus, time management could be said to be energy management as good time management leads to efficient and good use of energy. Time and energy are precious resources that, if used wisely can aid to live a well-balanced life and when applied in leadership can result in a positive energetically charged leadership.

Time management is about managing the self, one’s energy. Every human being should know the importance of this skill, especially leaders. Good management skills of this valuable resource can improve the quality of work and leadership. Working harder and longer does not always mean being more productive. Getting enough sleep, spending quality time with family and friends as well as taking time to relax is essential in order to be even-tempered and to avoid an unhealthy amount of stress. Achieving this goal can lead to better decision making and the openness to try new things which can be beneficial for the growth and expansion of a leader. Furthermore, this can generate increased motivation and energy, this effect can be recognized by team members and can be transferred to them.

Excellent time management also means the leaders ability to listen to team members, to reflect, and to help them develop. Consequently, the relationship between a leader and community members is strengthened. A positive cycle can occur, and higher productivity can be realized when using time and energy wisely. However, there is the danger the leader must watch out for and it is the danger of investing too much time and energy in time management planning, which may consequently lead to the misuse of these resources which could have been used more effectively on the execution of set goals.

How can leaders efficiently manage their time in time management? There is a large umbrella of activities to carry out within every twenty-four hours, which could be considered as not enough time to complete all the tasks and activities efficiently; leading to stress when tasks are not accomplished. The former president of the United States (1953-1961), Dwight Eisenhower, developed a scheme that allows to prioritization of tasks, it is called the Urgent-Important Matrix. It is composed of four main quadrants which categorize tasks and activities in order of importance, these are: 1) To-Do First, which demands immediate attention; 2) To Schedule, which are those activities that are important in life, but can be planned previously; 3) To Delegate, situations that usually come up unexpectedly; and 4) Don’t Do it; can be classified as those “tasks” that do not worth it (Eisenhower, n.d.)

Not only distributing the tasks according to their urgency and importance promote productivity and efficient energy use, but it also gives leaders a more clarified and organized plan to accomplish goals, which can reduce chances of encountering stressful situations and confusions. Leaders need mental stability not only for their performance, but to make the right decisions and to influence their followers positively by showing confidence and security (Paul & Peter, n.d.). The person in lead must define a plan involving measurable goals and objectives, a leader should establish the time to work on those aspects to accomplish the plan itself, and finally, propose the way how those activities will be realized; and thus, leaders can use the time to their favor in order to reduce the possibilities of uncertainty and workload (Eisenhower, n.d.).


Figure 1. Time Community own elaboration. Example Urgent-Important Matrix


It has been established that time is limited and that it is important to have good time and energy management skills as a leader but there are also situations in which time seems to drag on infinitely and we wish it would speed it up. It is during this time the virtue of patience is mostly needed.



Imagine waiting for the bus when it is cold outside, missing a loved one, waiting for test results, etc. These kinds of situations can be uncomfortable, stressful, and/or upsetting, but it is very important to keep in mind that it is better to save effort and energy. It is a better option to adopt patience in these situations. Even if being patient can be exhausting and unbearable it is worth it, as is famously quoted “patience is the best virtue”. Patience is allowing what is being in the moment to be. Accepting and instead of wishing to be in another space or time, settle deeply into the awareness of the moment and feel it completely without judgments or labels of bad or good or pleasant or unpleasant. Just being in pure awareness. This helps the moment to pass smoothly as a result of the lack of resistance we are having towards it. Whatever we resist persists and the more we fight with time the longer the wait will seem and whatever feeling of discomfort we may be feeling because of the resistance we have will be prolonged and intensified. Patience enhances a peaceful state of mind. Patience can help to stabilize and increase one`s quality of life. Additionally, it can teach you to solve problems without the influence of desperation that may lead to unwholesome decision making.

Time is also needed when learning new skills, experts report that it takes 10,000 hours to master a new skill and that’s equivalent to 40 hours a week for 5 years. The focus here is on the word “master”. Although it takes far lesser time to learn a new skill, learning still requires time, perseverance through the learning process, and consistent behavior.

As said by the famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar: “You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to become great”  this means no matter what we are to learn or master we must be patient and give it time and as a leader learn to be patient with our members after all Rome was not built in a day.

A leader should learn to accept that the team members might need more time to complete certain tasks. It is important to trust your team members that they will work hard to generate good results. A patient team leader must listen to the problems of the employees, be patient as well compassionate.



Time is a gift. There is always uncertainty about how much time is available to each person. A person must then seek to do as much as they can in the given time. As efficient as that may seem, run there are risks of forgetting to slow down and to be a part of the experience; to be aware.

To make relationships with time more friendly and balanced it is important to learn how to plan and to prioritize so time is used wisely. Time should be invested in things that add abundance joy and balance to our life. Time management can be used as a tool to find an equilibrium between doing things that are required of us as part of a society and an ecosystem (a team) as well as making time for the things we love and that are personal to us (family, friends, hobbies, etc.).

It is recognized how important time is and why it is essential to use it well. It is understood that our time is limited and so should not be taken for granted.

With time comes a deeper understanding of the self and one’s nature, as time passes and experiences increases so does the insight about the nature of oneself, who a person is, what a person likes, and how a person reacts in different situations and or environment. With this understanding, a person can become better people as well as better leaders.

Wisdom is understanding that for anything to happen it takes time as all things are being created in time. So, patience is a virtue that must be learned, in both interpersonal and intrapersonal relations. Patience and compassion are important values all leaders must learn.




Eisenhower. (n.d.). Accessed on 06 November 2020.Retrieved from https://www.eisenhower.me/eisenhower-matrix/

Paul, M., & Peter, S. D. (n.d.). Systems Thinker. Accessed on 08 November 2020. Retrieved from Systems Thinker: https://thesystemsthinker.com/managing-your-time-as-a-leader/





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