Business Growth & Strategy

Just … Say … NO!!!!! Say ‘No’ to Your Staff, Manage Your Own Time

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

And 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!

This topic and more are included in the Vistage Connect™ CEO peer advisory sessions. Learn more.

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:

Category: Business Growth & Strategy Communication & Alignment

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About the Author: Gina Abudi

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 re

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  1. Dave Nelsen

    November 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm


    I love your suggestions regarding managing one’s time. A related idea that’s equally game changing (from “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss): Do not allow email to constantly interrupt you. Instead, work email in “batches” at, say, 10 AM and 3 PM. Use your new found blocks of quality time to work YOUR priorities.

    People who are interrupted take 50% longer to complete a task. Take email off your Blackberry or iPhone. Instead, use text messages (judiciously) for anything time-critical. I adopted this approach 18 months ago; it’s unbelievable how much my productivity increased.

  2. Rohman_82

    November 20, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Managing interruption is one way to maintain your effectiveness in using the time. It is often that the interruption take the biggest part of your time and make your main tasks undone. You find your self doing many things but achieve very less from your action. The interruption make your concentration scattered you will need more time to complete you personal tasks than usual.

    Actually the interruption could come from every where not only for the stuff, it could come from the e-mail alert, your phone ring, your friends drop by, complain from the customer and so on. Both of the interruption also need a similar handle if you wish to maintain your productivity at the higher level.

    For additional info you could visit :

  3. Prime Outsourcing

    October 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    This is a very useful post specially to those leaders who wants to manage their work more rather than monitoring the staff from time to time. A leader should teach their staff how to be more independent so they won’t need to rely on the management when it comes to making simple decisions.

    Thanks for sharing.

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