“Time is the quality of nature that keeps events from happening all at once. Lately, it doesn’t seem to be working.” It’s not easy managing people-especially when stress levels are up and you have 57 other urgent things to do. No matter the circumstances, being a great manager takes time and dedication. But let’s get real: You literally have no time to spare!
Despite the grim statistics and seemingly daunting prospect, the bottom line is that you can get MORE than 57 things done if you know how to manage your team effectively. The key is finding the time. There are a few small things you can do every day to be the leader people want to follow:
1.Make the time. Set two hours of “managing” time on your calendar every week. It may seem impossible, but you’d rather spend the time now than deal with turnover-and bigger time drains-down the road.
2. Provide direction. Provide a project list in priority order. Highlight tangible deliverables and key dates so your team knows exactly what is expected.
3. Run efficient staff meetings. Newsflash! Your team dreads attending meetings, and they likely think they are a waste of time. Do everyone a favor and enforce a start/stop time, make an agenda, assign responsibilities and next steps clearly, keep things moving, and devote time for Q and A. Most important of all, only hold a meeting if you actually need to. Remember: “You rarely get outstanding results from standard procedures.”
4. Delegate and set stretching objectives. We know no one can do it as well as you can, but you need to delegate to give yourself time to complete tasks more appropriate for your level and to make time to be a good manager. It may seem scary to push them, but your team wants the challenge. They’ll be empowered by the extra responsibility.
5. Get organized. If you are unorganized, your team will be, too. Lay out work in a well-planned and organized manner. Put specific dates/times on the calendar (when, how often, what to bring/discuss) and identify tangible deliverables.
6. Discuss your style. You don’t have to make a grand proclamation or formal speech, but in the day to day, talk openly and candidly about your management philosophy. Be transparent about goals and expectations (yours and theirs). This can include hours, travel and client/management interaction, and decision-making styles.
7. Defy the golden rule. Management is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Consider experience level, attitude, personality, communication style, and motivation level-it is different for everyone! When it comes to managing people: “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.”
8. Wait for it! Don’t jump in with your opinion or the answer right away. Sit back, listen, and let your team come up with ideas. Put down the red pen when you are evaluating work, and mull over ideas. Challenge your employees with thoughtful questions and let them think through it. Require that they present you with solutions instead of asking you for answers.
9. Step away from your desk. To limit distractions and give an employee your undivided attention, try going to a conference room table or stepping away from your desk. Your employees would rather have five solid, uninterrupted minutes of your time than 15 barely there minutes.
10. Do what you say you will do. Walking the talk is incredibly important to get the trust and respect of your direct reports. You have an enormous influence, and it is important to understand your effect on people. Under promise and over deliver to your most important constituents-your team. They’ll follow suit!
Managing a team is challenging, but it’s rewarding and worthwhile if you invest the time and the effort. When you’re struggling to take time away to focus on your people, remember the reality:
Once you’ve developed an empowered team you can trust, you’ll be able to spend more
time on the 57 other things you have to do.