When looking at the traits of top performers, along with ambition and skill, the concept of excellent time management comes up consistently. Anyone who has worked in an office should understand that, although it may sound cliche, time is money, and when one person cannot manage his time efficiently, it often affects not only his performance but that of those around him. A good manager knows the signs and symptoms of poor time management and deals with them accordingly.
Signs of Poor Time Management:
- Procrastination: Does the employee wait until the last minute to get assignments or tasks done? Do they look hastily put together (typos and other mistakes, poor organization, shoddy workmanship, etc.)? Does he put off larger, more daunting tasks to focus on easier ones?
- Tardiness: Connected to procrastination, look to see if your employee consistently comes to work and/or meetings late, takes longer on assignments than he thought, or misses deadlines repeatedly.
- Lack of concentration/preparation: If an employee has trouble focusing, for whatever reason, on getting something done, this can signal trouble managing time. The same goes for lack of preparation: She doesn’t realize just how long a task should take, and ends up rushed as a result, and details get overlooked.
- Stress and fatigue: An employee who truly has too much on his plate to get it all done may well burn himself out trying to reach all of his goals and drop one project in favor of another. This can lead to frustration on colleagues’ parts as missed deadlines affect overall performance and frustration on the employee’s part as stress puts a strain on him.
What a Manager Can Do:
- Express concern: Detail in a private meeting how the employee has failed to meet time management expectations (and make sure those expectations were clear in the first place). Stick to the employee’s requirements and what she must do to improve. Give constructive help and make yourself available for questions.
- Listen: Let the employee have a chance to explain the reason for the poor time management and suggest a solution — but do not let him blame others or justify his lateness/shoddy work. Make clear that this sit-down counts as acknowledgement of a flaw, rather than a time for excuses.
- Make a list: Create a short list of actions and goals that will help the employee improve her time management, and share it with her. Initiate a connection by discussing the goals with the employee and whether she feels she can attain them; make appropriate changes as needed.
- Check in regularly: Have regular re-evaluations of the employee to see if he has improved or not in regard to his time management goals. Keep the meetings positive either way: Look at it as a chance to add more goals or address the ones not met and see what can be done to reach them (and note anything positive that he has done).
Not everyone has time management under complete control. Many of us allow a ten-minute or one-day grace period in general for appointments and deadlines. However, employees must understand that meeting those time deadlines shows respect for the company’s overall needs and objectives, as well as those of any client. A good manager leads by example in his own conduct and helps his employees appreciate the necessity of the clock. To discuss additional management strategies and to find the right employees for your company, reach out to the recruiting experts at Creative Staffing today.