A colleague shared a tough conversation that he had with an employee, then wisely said that he was leaving its resolution until tomorrow. “Time and space give things clarity,” he said.

I couldn’t agree more.

Allowing yourself time to reflect on a situation often produces insights that are hidden at the moment. When I am stuck on writing a dot, I often take the dogs for a walk or do something else. I watched the Senate debate and was unsure of my candidate until I slept on it and suddenly had a clear choice. I recently did a quick analysis of some data and only after I re-examined it did I realize my initial error in the setup.

In the workplace, time and space allow people the opportunity to consider the broader consequences. I disliked answering a request made in the hallway because while it may seem like a good idea on its own, I needed time to think about other implications. Time can provide a buffer to soften disagreements and retain relationships that may be damaged if the conversation continued in the moment. Walking away from a vexing issue allows time for incubation and new options to emerge.

We face a lot of pressure to constantly be “on” and respond instantly to the barrage of communication and issues thrown our way. It doesn’t have to be that way. Set the expectation with others that you need some time to think. Don’t apologize for saying “I’ll get back to you on that.” Shut off the input at a certain point each day to allow time and space to process what you have already encountered. You’ll be wiser and less overwhelmed if you give yourself the grace to ponder.


I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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