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Last week I had the opportunity to spend a few hours with a manager in advance of some leadership training that kicks off this week.
We were discussing how his management job had changed over the years. More automation, more communication, more regulations and fewer staff on the team to get the work done.  Sound familiar? If you allow it to, all this activity can draw you away from the time to lead your team.
No Time to Lead
As workload increases, managers trap themselves behind their computers and Blackberries, firing off emails instead of building relationships with their peers and their employees. Instead of one-on-ones, the manager uses group meetings as a convenient way to get the word out. Employees become disengaged, feel the manager doesn’t care about them and become less productive. This in turn causes more work for the manager and the problem snowballs.
Just like busy parents who think that “quality time” is more important to children than “quantity of time”, there is no substitute for face to face time between a manager and team member.
There is no magic bullet or ultra-concentrated leadership formula. In fact research of highly effective people leaders shows that being a good leader requires approximately 20% more time. The reason is that touching base with employees, providing regular feedback and getting to know them as people can’t be rushed.
What do you gain from investing this time with your employees? You get greater commitment, accountability, improved business results and a greater likelihood for promotion and advancement.
Reflection Questions
Are you caught in the hamster wheel of endless tasks, to-do’s and emails? Are you neglecting the needs of the people around you?
Action Items

  • Reflect on your time spent on tasks versus time spent with people.
  • Even if it means deferring some of your tasks, take time with the people who work with you.
  • Observe the impact of spending more time communicating with your peers and team members in terms of morale, productivity and results.