Toss that Time-wasting Culture Out, Now!

Have you ever heard of that adage: ‘The Boss is always right!’

Or, worse still, are you a die-hard follower of the same?

Grow up! Such eons-old school thoughts have no place in the modern day and dynamic management environ. And if you happen to be one of those bosses who preen themselves that your team is a blind worshipper of all your remarks and always nod their heads to whatever you might happen to say, take a reality check.

I’ve noticed how leaders tend to end up wasting a humongous amount of their teams’ time by their offhand remarks and seeking out a ton of information over minor day-to-day workings of the company. Often, pre-meetings tend to consume a great chunk of their teams’ time where they insist being presented with all sorts of information – whether that has any actual bearing on the main meeting or not. And after wading through a pile of paper they complain it’s too long and hardly bother reading anything at all!

Another way in which leaders tend to waste their teams’ time is by micromanaging. When you choose to shove in your oar into every tom-dick-harry type of business matter you not only are holding up the flow of work, you’re also degrading and demoralizing your team!

Then, there’re a leader’s casual remarks that may lead to wastage of millions in terms of admin / training related costs. For instance, I happen to know of a CEO whose chance observation of a sale executive’s ‘unenthusiastic’ telephone call led to the top management spending a small fortune on re-training and regular refresher training for all their sales executives over a period of time, not to mention the losses in terms of their productivity.

Today, I’m going to outline a few steps which all leaders can follow to eliminate wasting their teams’ time and resources.

  1. Draw a hard line between ‘instructions’ and ‘casual observations’: As a leader, whatever you utter could have a serious consequence. Be sure you rule out any ambiguity vis-à-vis whatever you say / observe, by being specific. For offhand remarks, ensure your team doesn’t go about scuttling to accommodate them by saying, ‘It’s just a thought… don’t do anything for now.’
  2. Examine proposed initiatives for their worth: If you’re one of those who love dishing out new initiatives continually, pause. Analyze whether they are worth it in the first place or not! Are they really building upon the earlier initiatives you rolled out? Or are they so much waste of people’s time and efforts? Be objective with all your initiatives and assess how and to what extent they are really helping you comply with your annual targets.
  3. Encourage a culture where honest feedback is valued: This especially applies to those leaders who traditionally frown upon any comment or suggestion which is in opposition to what they would prefer to hear. Let go of your ego and learn to hear ‘no’ for a much required change in your management style, my friends! If you see your team always blindly nodding their heads to whatever you say, it is not because they always agree to your views – simply put they are scared of hurting your ego. Such ‘yes-man’ culture must be abolished and honest opinion welcomed if you really wish to see a positive change in your teams’ performances.
  4. Learn that delegating is necessary: Understand that you cannot go on doing everything on your own; your time as a leader should be devoted to matters of strategic importance rather than the day-to-day stuff, for which you’ve hired competent people already!
  5. Stop assuming all the time: I’ve always said that assumptions are the mother of all screw-ups. ‘You know what all is required here,’ / ‘I know you can do it!’ / ‘This can be done by EoD, am sure.’ How many times have you said such things to your team? What if the person concerned ‘does not know’ / isn’t confident to do it / can’t get it done by EoD? It’s wiser to clarify and seek confirmations to your musings – It would save a lot of time eventually.
  6. Imbibe a culture of ‘lean meetings’: Towards this, first think twice before scheduling meetings. If certain matters can be taken care of by a simple phone call or via email, do not call a meeting. On the other hand, don’t take up uncalled for time and stretch the meetings by discussing mundane stuff – keep the meetings brief and to-the-points, giving others the chance to speak up instead of them being a one-way sounding board!

Do share your thoughts, especially if and after you imbibe such measures at work!


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