When it comes to managing time effectively, much of the focus is about saving time for the individual. However, better time management is not just about you. It’s about your team, too.
As leaders of teams, there is a significant knock-on effect when we don’t manage time effectively. Leaders who manage time poorly after often more reactive, take more shortcuts, experience more stress and work longer hours.
This is why I believe better time management should be a focus for every leader. After all, thoughtful leadership is about more than just you, it’s about the people you lead.
Related post: 5 Ways You Can Be a More Thoughtful Leader Today.
Leaders Can Be a Big Waste of Time
Leaders can be one of the biggest sources of wasted time. Why?
Partly it’s because time management issues have a knock-on effect that can expand throughout your team.
For example, rushing out a poorly formatted email means that even though you’ve saved yourself five minutes, the 10 people in your team who receive the email now have to waste their time trying to decipher it.
The other reason is that leaders are in positions of authority. And people are less likely to push back on people of higher rank.
So in other words, when you are rushing to hit a deadline because of your poor time management skills, your team are less likely to say “This isn’t acceptable” when you push work onto them at the last minute.
This is why we need to check ourselves and ask “Am I wasting people’s time here?” If we don’t do that, sometimes our teams will follow orders even if we are killing their productivity. Then, we’ll only have ourselves to blame.
Related post: How Leaders Can Stop Wasting Time at Work.
How Better Time Management Will Help Your Team
1. You’ll Have More Time to Communicate Effectively
Poor communication is a productivity killer. Email is already overused in organisations, but it’s even worse when leaders send out irrelevant information, poorly formatted emails or emails with no context.
Sometimes, emails are sent when a face to face conversation would be far more effective.
Spending time to communicate more concisely and to provide the right amount of context will save your team time, and make their jobs easier.
One of my favourite quotes comes from Mark Twain, who said “I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time.”
This is because communicating effectively and concisely takes more time in the beginning. But it will save your team time in the long run, by reducing the unnecessary back and forth that confusing communication creates.
Related post: Why Effective Communication Means Less Work.
2. Better Time Management Mean More Time to Support Your Team
Imagine a world where leaders had time in their day to properly support their team members. Being an available leader is an underrated quality.
Unfortunately, many workplaces are still stuck in the “Cult of busy” where they believe that the busiest people are the most valuable. However, taking the time to properly support your team, provide coaching and mentoring and to review the work that your team produces is time well spent.
These activities appear to be somewhat intangible. The benefits of being a supportive, available leader are hard to quantify. However, I find it helps to improve team trust as well as improve communication because you are available when you’re needed.
I remember a time when I was rushing, having forgotten to do something to support one of my team members. They were very nice about it, and simply said “It’s OK, I know you’re busy.”
That’s when I knew I’d screwed up.
Because when you’re too busy, you’re letting the team down.
Related post: Are You Too Busy to Lead Effectively?
3. Better Time Management Means Less Stress
If you’re running around stressed, you’re often focused just on yourself.
“I need to get this done quickly!” or “I’ve got so much work to do!”
So when you’re focused on fixing your own stressors, you’re forgetting about other people. This is when you take shortcuts, you rush things and you make mistakes.
It’s hard to show empathy for somebody when your mind is screaming at you “I need to get that report done before 5pm!” That’s when you stop paying attention, and when your team member realises that you haven’t been listening to a word they have been saying.
Managing your time better means cutting down the stress and freeing your mind to think clearly, make better decisions and actually listen to the people who are speaking to you.
4. Better Time Management Means More Strategic Thinking
Thinking strategically is challenging, because it requires space and time to think. If you are consumed with everyday tasks and fire-fighting issues, then it’s hard to think strategically.
Being strategic is about thinking of ways to improve the way your team works, building relationships or understanding what to focus on to get the best return for your team.
Without it, we are stuck on the hamster wheel, running furiously from one task to another. So when you manage your time better, you’ll have more time and space to think strategically, to improve your situation.
Related post: 6 Critical Strategic Skills All Leaders Need.
Tip: If this post resonates with you and you’d like to practice better time management, Thoughtful Leader can help. Check out the Time Management Toolkit, with tools and techniques to help you free your time and be a more effective leader. You and your team deserve better, so get the toolkit today.
Do you agree or disagree? What are some other ways that time management can help your team? I’d love to read your comments below.
Alternatively, if you would like to ask a question or need some help, you can send me a private message through my contact page.