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Your most valuable assets are your time and attention. No matter how clever you are, no matter how well educated, there is no way to add hours to the day. Most of us understand this, and I talk about it in The Power of Scheduling What is Important. The tricky part is figuring out just what is important. To your direct reports, your time and attention are a valuable resource. If you are a good leader, these are gold to them. Their success can depend on you.
I have always made a practice of scheduled supervision with all my direct reports for an hour every week. These sessions are our formal times. As things come up during the week, we can easily have calls or take a moment to talk. However, knowing we have a scheduled time, I find both sides save things for that conversation.
While I am very much an “open door” leader, in a supervision session, the door is shut. That is my direct reports’ time, and only a true emergency is a reason to disrupt it. It is a blessing to have a good Executive Assistant to screen out anything but a true emergency. Most of the time, however, we must teach our direct reports when it is okay to interrupt or not.
The advantage of a regular schedule is that you are both committed to keep that appointment. If it is all “ad hoc” then it is easy to suddenly go a month without meeting. “We will discuss that in supervision” becomes something positive. I found the need for direct reports to interrupt my day decreased. They would hold anything but the urgent items for our scheduled time. Conversely, if they did need to bring me something immediately, I was all ears, because I would know that this was a situation that could not wait.
There are months when this supervision may not happen, due to other things in either person’s schedule taking priority. In those cases, you may or may not reschedule, based on each other’s needs. “
I have coached several leaders in this format over the years and when they have implemented it, they have seen its power. That does not mean it has not been met with resistance. The number one response is “I don’t have time”. My advice has always been the same, “Make time. Your job is to be a leader. This is the core of your job”.
If you do not provide the attention to your direct reports that they need to be successful, you may find it will take more time and attention down the road to correct a problem you could have avoided.
Spend your most valuable resources wisely and you will see the benefits.
Bryan G. Stephens is a former executive on a mission to transform the workplace. He is the founder and CEO of TalkForward, a consulting and training company, utilizing Bryan’s clinical and management expertise to develop managers and teams in a corporate environment. As a licensed therapist with a strong understanding of developing human potential, he is dedicated to the development of Human Capital to meet the needs of leaders, managers, and employees in the 21st Century workplace. Bryan has an Executive MBA from Kennesaw State University, Coles School of Business, and both a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
Originally posted at TalkForward.Published in