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.
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.
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.
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.