Be There for Your Team

As a manager—a leader—you have to be there for every person on your team when they need your input— always open to communication. A recent MSNBC article reviews several authors tackling the problem of an “absentee boss”—one who, for whatever reason, appears to be “difficult to get”.

Unfortunately, even the most conscientious manager may sometimes appear to his team as unaccessible. In your zeal to get things done you may get carried away and forget to “pencil in” your employees’ needs. But no matter how important that pending presentation to corporate might be, your team’s ship won’t sail far without a captain.

  • Your challenge is to carefully map out your day and use your time with maximum efficiency. While focusing on the task at hand, keep around some reminders of your team’s current projects— be it an iPlanner note or just a post-it on your screen.
  • You can, actually, get your team to help you help them. Ask your employees, instead of chasing you around whenever they have a question, to plan meetings according to their projected need for your input. The meetings should be regular (say, once a week), brief and with a clear agenda. You can even ask them to remind you of a scheduled meeting a few hours ahead of time.
  • During meetings, steer the conversation to keep it on target. Don’t let it veer into a gabfest—unless you feel an irresistible need to unwind. That in itself could be a reminder to take a short break, crack a few jokes. An occasional momentary change of pace can help you maintain efficiency thoughout the day—like a pit-stop during a marathon.

Bottom line: while striving to get things done, don’t loose sight of your long-term, ever-present responsibility—your team. That’s what your job is about, and that, in the long run, is the basis of your success.