In the midst of a busy office sometimes managers need to find peace and quiet in order that they can perform their strategic planning.
So how can we achieve this? In this article we look at actions we can take to create ‘space’ for us to think and plan ahead.
Become More Of A Manager & Less Of A ‘Doer’
This is a common mistake that managers make particularly when they first get promoted. Because they have been used to doing ‘stuff’ they find it difficult to get out of that habit. There are of course some managerial roles that also require them to do a role as well as manage.
The key here is delegation. This does not however mean abdication! Tasks need to be delegated in a way that you can fully trust the other person to carry it out to a sufficient standard. This means that you will need to explain the task clearly and allow for the other person’s learning style. Some people will need to have the full detail by asking many questions. Others are capable of being ‘dropped in the deep end’ and still cope with it.
As well as freeing up your time delegating effectively means that it will be easier for you to have time off knowing that your team can cope without you.
Help Employees To Think For Themselves
Some managers believe that they must control everything and have all the answers to the problems. The result of this is that these managers become overloaded and never have time to truly lead and manage.
In his book ‘The One Minute Manager Meets The Monkey’, Ken Blanchard describes the situation when an employee brings a problem for you to solve. He likens it to them bringing a monkey on their shoulder and giving it to you. You then put it on our shoulder along with all the other monkeys from other employees and by the end of the day you are weighed down with monkeys or problems.
Ken Blanchard suggests that instead of taking on everybody else’s problems we need to teach our employees to solve the problem or deal with the issue themselves. To do this we need to teach them how by making your employees think for themselves.
Another way to prevent the team from relying upon you for the answers is to appoint product and topic specialists. In this way team members can make contact with these specialists to gain answers or advice on their specialist topic.
Book An Appointment With Yourself
In terms of time management one technique that works very well is to deliberately book an appointment in your diary where you will be out of the office either in an internal meeting room or somewhere external.
Like any meeting with a customer, your mobile phone should be switched off and if possible a message on your voicemail saying when you will be free.
The key here is being disciplined to carry this through and not letting on what you are doing as people will have a tendency to interrupt you or find you!
So, we have seen that it is possible to create a safe haven even in a busy work environment provided you see your plan through to the end. The added bonus is that your team become more independent and develop their own skills too.
Head of Training
Originally published: 18 July, 2013