Kelly Therrien weVENTURE
Published 3:37 p.m. UTC Jul 6, 2018
I learned early into home ownership, that my skills are not in being handy — I am not the person to call if you need plumbing work completed or a technical project in your home. At first, I would read up, go watch the expert demonstration at the local hardware store and go buy the new tools I needed for a task.
Only to quickly get into the project and run into a problem. This often results in rework, more tools and equipment needed from the local hardware store, and more time – time spent doing more research, trying again, the project would go from a quick 30 minute task to drag on for days. In the end, I’d still need to call a handy man. Guess what, it is not worth my time to figure those things out! Paint the house, work in the garden, got it! Plumbing, tile work, best for me to call the professionals.
The measure of a good leader is the accomplishments of their direct reports. I recently began thinking about how to best develop team members and where one would find the time. I began working with a leadership team consisting of 13 leaders in a division, the common challenge was how they are spending their time. Many leaders were struggling with too many meetings, emerging urgent requests, or chain of command communications. These were preventing the leaders from having the time to focus on the strategic, long term priorities and instead their time and attention was pulled to short term, emerging priorities. Part of my work included completing interviews to gather feedback about their effectiveness as leaders.
The direct reports who were interviewed to provide feedback on behalf of these leaders, reported that their leaders are too busy. Overwhelmingly, these direct reports offered ‘I could do more,’ and ‘My leader could put that back on me.’ The leaders were surprised at the feedback not just because their teams recognized their work load but further were offering to help! This was not simply a sign of empathy to remove some workload for their boss, but also for continued growth and development for themselves.
So often we find ourselves working on activities that are not the best use of our time. It can start innocently enough that we convince ourselves that “it will take too long to teach someone else to do it, “or “only I know how to do this.” Before you know it, you are overwhelmed with too many things to do and not nearly enough hours in the day to accomplish them.
Today, I am challenging you to consider how effectively are you using your time. Your time is your most valuable commodity, are you using it wisely? Leverage your time by focusing on those things you do best. Your time is valuable…invest in using it wisely! Consider:
· Any time a request comes your way, ask yourself, are you the best resource to do the work? What is your time worth? What is the profitability of your time and energy on that task versus someone else in your organization? What else could you be doing to benefit your goals if you spent time elsewhere? Make sure you are using your time on work that is the best use of your energy.
· Where does this particular request fall on the priority hierarchy? Work on tasks that are high priority and at the right strategic level for your role.
Any items that are not a good use of your time yet still need to be completed, should be delegated. Once you have decided which task(s) to delegate, know that it requires some of your time for an good hand off. Even if you have to spend some time preparing a delegate to take on the activity, the next time it comes up it will require even less of your time. Don’t fall into the trap thinking it is too much effort to prepare the other person to do the task and therefore keeping it on your plate! After all an important part of leadership is building up the next leaders.What does the person need to be successful?
Set clear expectations for the task including the vision for what good looks like. And check for understanding of the goal for the task.
Ensure they have the tools, time, and authority to perform the task effectively
Finally, follow up and ensure the delegate knows how they did – tell them what they did well and what could be done differently next time
At the end of the day, to be successful as a leader, it is imperative to develop your people. The success of your team and direct reports is a measure of your leadership effectiveness. Not just that you achieved the results but how you achieved them!
Kelly Therrien is a Leadership and Performance Consultant, specializing in Organizational Behavior Management. For the past fifteen years, Kelly has worked with clients in various industries teaching them about the science of human behavior and how to use that science to ensure people engage in the right behaviors to get the right results in their businesses. Kelly graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology with a Master’s of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
Columnist series sponsored by weVENTURE at the Florida Institute of Technology College of Business. weVENTURE has locations in Melbourne and Rockledge. The Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information, visit weventure.org or call 321-674- 7007.