One of the most important relationships in your life is the relationship you have with each of your employees.
We live our lives based on the quality of our relationships.
Marriage. Family. Friendships.
They’re all defined by how well each person is able to interact with the other.
The same is true for the boss/employee relationship.
Yet there seems to be an issue for many in this area. A recent survey found that 30% of respondents said their boss was a bad manager. Many said they had left a job because of a bad manager.
There is apparently a common saying that goes: People don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses.
I can see how that would be true.
In that survey above, when asked why they disliked their managers, 41% said it was because they didn’t get enough recognition and 40% said they felt overworked.
There are a number of reasons that a boss/employee relationship can get out of whack:
- Lack of communication
- And more
One overarching theme seems to be that bosses are very busy people. They’re often too busy to be available when an employee needs to communicate.
Let’s look at a few ways you can make more time for your employees.
Align Business Goals With Your Daily Tasks (Remove Tasks)
This is a big one. I guess that’s why it’s first on the list.
Before you can make more time for your employees you need to look at your overall schedule. If you’re too busy, chances are that you have too much on your plate. You’re trying to do too much. It’s to your own detriment and to the detriment of your business (and those you work with).
Look at your business goals. Look at what you like doing and what you’re good at.
Cut back to just 1-3 tasks that are most important for yourself and for your business. Align your daily tasks with your business goals.
Eliminate or delegate the rest of your tasks.
Going through this simple process is important and it’s really something you can do on regular intervals. It’s easy to fall into “busy” habits and routines every six months to a year.
Free up your schedule and you’ll free up time for what’s most important and that includes making time for your team.
Allow Employees To Schedule Time (Don’t Break Commitments)
We’ll talk about “urgent” later, but right now we’ll focus on allowing employees to schedule time with you. Maintain a calendar and don’t fill it up everyday with tasks (we just covered that in the previous point).
Let your team know that the best way to meet with you is to schedule the time.
When they do schedule time with you don’t break the commitment. This obviously defeats the purpose and it will drive your team crazy. Every time you break a commitment (even for something “urgent”) it sends the message that the employee is not as important as whatever else you have going on.
Scheduling time also makes each person on your team think about how important it really is for them to talk to you. Something “urgent” may not really need a discussion.
Schedule Time w/ Your Team & Listen Without Judgment
It’s not just about employees scheduling time with you.
As the boss, it’s up to you to stay in touch with your team. I had a great CEO that would walk through the building and spend a couple minutes with every employee about every three months.
I thought this practice was wonderful and you can do the same especially with the people you work directly with. Some people need more personal interaction than others. They’ll schedule time with you. Others may not schedule time so it’s up to you to make the connection.
Schedule regular time to talk about anything – work, personal interests and more – about every 3-6 months. It might just be a 5-minute check-in, but it will go a long way.
Tell More People “No”
This seems kind of backwards, but one of the reasons you might be too busy for all your employees is that you say “yes” to too many people.
When someone interrupts your day with a question you listen and answer. Add those up and it can fill your day. You take every phone call. You take every meeting. You take on every project.
Everything. It’s all “yes”.
Look back on your priority list and tell people “no”. You only have so much time in the day and only so much energy to give. Your employees are high on the list. As the manager, you need to give them time. You’ll have to tell other people “no” or you’ll be putting your employees too low on the list of priorities.
Current Doesn’t Mean Urgent
Finally, this is one of my favorite sayings. I’m still learning it myself. I keep my email open during the day and when I see that (1) in the tab I naturally stop what I’m doing (like writing this post) and see what’s going on.
Almost always, that current email is not an urgent email. It’s something I could look at in batches maybe once or twice per day.
It’s good to have a driving list of priorities. This way you can look at every task that comes across your desk in terms of how it relates to your goals. Something that comes up might be important, but not always. You’ll only know if you understand your priorities.
Let’s say that a colleague comes to you with a question. They need your thoughts and it will only take a few minutes. You stop what you’re doing and help them. A half hour passes and the issue is resolved and you can go back to what you were doing.
Those little things add up. The quick question probably wasn’t “urgent”. It only felt that way because it was current.
Making time for employees is very important for managers and entrepreneurs. Employees like to be recognized for their achievements. They like to know that their boss is available to support them if they have concerns, questions or ideas.
An employee that has a distant boss or a boss that is too busy may feel the need to move on and find someone that can provide for their needs. If you’re too busy you risk losing key team members and that can obviously affect the success of your company.
Try some of the ideas above for creating more time for your team.