Leaders may not want to admit it, but they can sometimes cause time-management issues at work. They may assign more work than someone can reasonably handle. They might not be aware of everything that’s on someone’s plate. Or, leaders may automatically expect that employees have the resources and know-how to complete a task. 

All of these things together can cause productivity to tumble, deadlines to slip by and important details to be missed. Fortunately, leaders can take some actions to help their team members better manage their time.

Ben Brearley, a leadership coach and trainer, says that if you want to help your team be more productive and improve how they manage their time, you need to help them – not hinder them. We explain Brearley’s tips for supporting your team in this issue of PromoPro Daily.

Get to know employees’ styles. Everyone has their own tendencies and preferences for working. Brearley likes to use psychometric testing tools to help people understand themselves and others a bit better. The important thing, he says, is to take an assessment and then have a conversation about it.

Think like a detective. Be observant and on the lookout for time-management problems. Start by noticing things rather than overlooking or ignoring them. For instance, Brearley says you might start to notice aspects like body language, tone of voice and interactions with other team members and with yourself. You might notice a pattern or trend that can help you better understand workplace stressors or dynamics.

Help people prioritize. Try talking to employees about their workload each week and help them prioritize various projects. This gives leaders insight into what everyone is working on. Just keep in mind, Brearley says, that autonomy is an important motivational factor. People find it motivating to have some control over their workloads and how they get it done.

Understand where work comes from. Often, work comes from several sources, including colleagues, clients and other teams in your organization. This is the hidden work that can trip people up, Brearley says. Leaders think they know what their employees are working on only to find out that another project was put on their plate from somewhere else.

Be prepared to press pause. When it comes to time management, there may be times you have to stop doing some things. This can be a hard call to make, Brearley says, but sometimes it’s necessary to focus on a few important things instead of all the things.

Remember that leaders and team members work together in a partnership. When leaders help their employees manage their time, the entire team benefits.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Ben Brearley is a leadership coach, trainer and facilitator with nearly two decades of management and consulting experience.