How to Protect Your Time, Empower Your Team

By Harvard Business Review
October 30, 2018

Here are four strategies to help leaders find this balance and get more important work done.

We all know that controlling what we pay attention to is key to living an intentional life. As a manager, one of the biggest impediments to attention management is other people’s problems. When leaders’ time is constantly in demand from staff, they report they have too little time remaining to engage in reflective thinking.

How can leaders create the time and space to think and get important work done?

Mentor in hindsight: Mentoring is an important role of leadership. However, employees learn much less when advice is given on the front end than they do when they have the opportunity to experience their own successes and failures, then discuss them with their boss later.

RELATED: Four Ways That Leaders Can Create a Learning Culture for Employees

Create boundaries for decision-making: Sometimes it’s hard for employees to determine what they should handle on their own and what is outside the scope of their responsibilities. Make sure all employees know exactly what their ultimate role in the company is and when it’s acceptable for them to make mistakes.

RELATED: How to Survive When Overwhelmed by Your Workload

Have regular meetings with your reports: Reliably dedicate time on your calendar every week for each of your direct reports. If they feel empowered to make decisions on their own, and they understand how far their responsibilities extend and what they need your help for, they will then be more likely to hold their questions and issues to discuss at your weekly meeting.

RELATED: Feel Less Guilty About Work You Haven’t Yet Completed

Be available less often: The more often you are unavailable, the more often your team will figure out things on its own. When leaders are “too available” to the team, on the contrary, their teams can become disempowered or lazy.

Copyright 2018 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

Topics: Management

The More You Know: What to Consider When Determining Whether to Merge with Another Physician Group
Podcast: Revenue Cycle Trends and Traps
Transform your organization - Get leadership training from the experts!

Popular Articles


About Physician Leadership News

Now more than ever, physicians are leaders in their organizations and communities.

The American Association for Physician Leadership maximizes and supports physician leadership through education, community, and influence. We promote thought leadership in health care through our Physician Leadership News website, bimonthly Physician Leadership Journal and other channels.

We focus on industry leadership issues such as patient care, finance, professional development, law, and technology. Association announcements and news of association events can be found.

Send us your feedback at

Journal Submission Guidelines

AAPL's award-winning print publication, the Physician Leadership Journal, welcomes originally authored manuscripts for peer review that meet competency, formatting and preparation criteria. To review these guidelines and other information regarding submissions, click here.