When asked what their biggest challenge is, many managers say that getting everything done is what they struggle with most. One of the major differences of being a manager is that you are no longer just responsible for one or two things. You need to manage a varied workload as well as people and resources. So what are the 5 top mistakes managers make when it comes to managing workload and what should they do instead?
Mistake 1: Failing to focus
The first mistake managers often make when it comes to managing workload is failing to focus on managing. This is often more of a challenge for those that have been promoted within the same organisation to a management role. If you are a manager you are no longer measured just on what you do but on the results you deliver through others.
Solution: Make a point of allocating a proportion of your time specifically for managing and get crystal clear on how your performance is measured.
Mistake 2: Not delegating
Delegating tasks and responsibility is often something managers find tough to do. It might be that they were let down in the past and are reluctant to try again. It is important to remember that if you avoid delegating you give a message to your staff that you don’t trust them. How would you feel if your boss gave you a message that he or she did not trust you?
Solution: Identify tasks that can only be done by you and those that can be delegated. Once you have identified those tasks that can be delegated, find the best person in your team to do the task and delegate it to them.
Mistake 3: Not being willing to say no
You want to be seen as someone who is helpful – don’t you? The real question to ask yourself is whether you want to be regarded as the person who always offers to help but rarely delivers. As a manager you need to know when you can commit and when you cannot commit to something. It is better to say and explain your reasons than to say yes and not deliver.
Solution: Always be clear on what you have to deliver in the weeks ahead and how long it will take so that you can clearly identify what capacity you have to take on additional work or projects.
Mistake 4: Not planning
Failing to plan is planning to fail. You would not go travelling without a plan or try to make something without a plan. So why would you leave your productivity and effectiveness to chance by not planning?
Solution: Plan your workload for the month, week and day and ensure that you focus on your priorities.
Mistake 5: Being too accessible
Many managers talk about having an open door policy. At the same time, you need to be careful that your open door policy does not become a constant interruption policy. When this happens you start to lose huge chunks of your time, put the delivery of results at risk and put yourself under real pressure.
Solution: Have designated times when you are available to deal with problem issues and people issues and schedule this time in your calendar. When issues arise outside of this, make sure that the issues really do require your immediate attention.
Bottom Line – Mastering workload management will set you apart from many managers and help you deliver results. So what action do you need to take to better manage your workload?
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.