How to Be a Good Leader Without Giving up All Your Time

This is a guest post by Kayla Matthews that offers some excellent foundational steps to balancing your time. Kayla writes about work productivity. Her work has been featured in Fast Company and other publications. You can join her newsletter here.

 

Don’t Give Up All Your Time

Being a leader is an important role. When your team is relying on you to help them through their problems, tasks and questions, it can feel like you’re getting pulled in a million different directions. While you may be trying to be a great leader, you can feel like you’ve been stretched too thin.

You must find a balance between being a great leader and having time of your own. Because you have your own tasks and jobs that you need to complete, you can’t spend all your time helping others. However, as a leader, you also need to be there for your team.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to save some time while still giving your team the attention that they need. From time management hacks to automation processes, let’s take a look at a few of the things you should consider if you’re struggling to balance being a leader and maintaining your own schedule.

 

“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” -Peter Drucker

 

1. Schedule Your Time

If you struggle to get anything done because your team comes to you for help at all hours of the work day, that may be causing major problems. While you want your team to feel comfortable asking you for questions or help, being available throughout the entire day can encourage them to come into your office when they don’t really need help.

Take some time to schedule your day and share it with your team. If you have certain blocks of time that you’d like to focus on your own projects, let them know you’re only to be disturbed for emergencies or if there isn’t anyone else that can help with that issue. That time is to be used for your own work and duties.

While you should schedule time for your work, you should also schedule some open availability with your team. Let them know when you’re free to chat, discuss minor details of a project or when your office door is open to them. If that time doesn’t work for them or they need to discuss something important, put time in your schedule to help them.

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” -Jim Rohn

2. Use Automation Tools

If you feel like you’re stretched thin because you’re constantly doing mundane tasks, like posting on social media or sending out emails, consider automating them so you don’t need to spend the time posting. This can alleviate some pressure on both you and your team.

Automation tools are available for a variety of things. You can automate your email to send replies or set up a few days of your social media posts at a time. By spending a longer amount of time establishing the right automations, you don’t have to worry about it throughout the day or week.

You can even automate or delegate your phone calls. If you and your team are constantly distracted by phones ringing with questions and customer services complaints, sending those calls to a third party can free up some time on your end. Instead of needing to put down what you’re doing to answer the phone, let someone else deal with the situation.

3. Delegate Responsibilities

If you’re the boss, people are going to come to you for help. However, sometimes you’re just not the right person for the job. There is usually someone else who could answer the question or make the decision without needing your input. If you haven’t yet delegated who should hold these responsibilities, it can be a great way to save yourself some time.

Let each member of your team know who they should report to with any questions, but try to spread out who makes those decisions. For example, you may not want to designate one person as the taker of all the questions. Instead, think about who may be the most helpful to different employees.

The interns may be able to ask entry-level employees questions while entry-level employees can ask assistant managers.

You don’t need to remove yourself entirely from the equation. Stay available if the question can’t be answered otherwise or if someone truly believes you need to provide your input on the topic or situation. Also, be sure to set up meetings with your employees to ensure you know what is going on and the problems people are experiencing.

“Delegating work works, providing the one delegating works, too.” -Robert Half

 

4. Cut the Meetings

Many managers spend a lot of time sitting in company meetings. However, meetings can be a real waste of time, especially when they don’t accomplish much. The time spent in a meeting means your team and you are not at your desks working on the projects you need to complete.

Look at the meetings you’re currently holding and consider whether you can cut them down. If you’re able, condense small short meetings into a slightly larger meeting, meaning your employees only need to be distracted from their work one time. While it may be less personal than a meeting, an email or chat can often do the trick.
If you need to have a large meeting, plan it at a time when your employees may not be working. For large meetings with a lot to discuss, have a lunch meeting where you can kill two birds with one stone. This ensures employees can get the most out of their time in the office.

Sometimes, being a leader means making some sacrifices, but you shouldn’t have to give up all your time to help your team. While you still need to be there for them when they need it, you need to establish a strong balance between being helpful and wasting valuable time in the office.

Consider these tips and how they may apply to your unique situation. Look for areas that could use improvement and talk to your team about what they need from you as a leader. With this information, you can develop a strategy that works for you.

 

“Actions speak louder than meetings.” -Lee Clow

 

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