Leadership Challenge: Managing Your Own Time

A big leadership challenge for many is how to limit interruptions or requests from staff so that they can get their own work done.

It’s especially challenging for those who strive to be good leaders with an open door policy towards their staff — available and to stay engaged with them. However, with too much of an “open door policy,” you may find that you just can’t get anything done!

To better balance time with your staff and your own time, try these tips:

  • Set up time on your calendar at least a few times a week specifically for staff to drop by with questions, ideas, problems to be solved, or just to catch up.
  • Take time out of your day to visit your staff — stop by their desks or offices and check in with them. This will condition them to expect you to come by, and they’ll be more likely to hold ideas until they see you.
  • When you need to work uninterrupted, block the time off in your calendar as “busy” and/or notify staff via a sign on your office door that you need to work uninterrupted for a period of time and are not to be disturbed.
  • At your next staff meeting, consider telling your staff that in order for you to accomplish what needs to be done for the business, you’ll be setting aside one morning a week and one afternoon a week specifically to spend time with staff. The rest of the time will be “out of touch,” unless there is an emergency.
  • Don’t be afraid to stop a staff member who may arrive at your office at a bad time. Tell him or her that you’re in the middle of something and would like to schedule another time to meet. And take out your calendar and schedule that time before the employee leaves.

Sometimes, the issue is that the staff just doesn’t feel empowered to make decisions. They believe they must reach out to you for assistance and decision making. If this is the case, change that perception! You can’t possibly run a business if you have needy employees. Make sure they know they are empowered to get the work done. They should feel confident about making decisions and solving problems — within certain parameters, of course, and following company processes and procedures.

Remember — the more self-sufficient your employees, the better able you are to concentrate on getting done the work of your business!

Gina Abudi is president of Abudi Consulting Group, LLC, providing strategy around projects, process, people and technology to businesses of all sizes. Gina can be reached via her website: http://www.AbudiConsulting.com.
Originally published: Oct 19, 2011

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