A few days ago I wrote a post entitled Do You Take Time Management in Business Seriously? It, to me, is a very important post because I see time as a non-negotiable asset in business and a the #1 partner in getting results.

So if it’s essential in business, it’s equally essential in effective leadership, which I discuss in the post A Little Know Coaching Method to Quickly Improve Your Results.

So, for this post, I have an interesting twist on how to see and use time.

Leadership Tip: Use time management to demonstrate and exercise leadership.

I am a huge fan of 2 philosophies / beliefs:

– everyone is a leader in some way

– leadership is not a title, it is a behavior

Using time – using time management skills – is a useful way to express and demonstrate these. In fact it is my observation and belief that time management is business management and is also a reflection of leadership effectiveness.

Everything about business is done through time.

So I’d like to offer a few time management skills for managers and individuals that can not only help use time more effectively, but also demonstrate leadership. So as you read through the following, ask yourself, “How skilled am I at these?”

1 > Managing Interruptions

When I conducted the public workshop Organizational Strategies for the Overwhelmed (which I eventually turned into a book, which you can pick up on Amazon). I mention in the book that many managers have a “sort of open door” policy, which in many cases turns into “I’m available all the time for as long as you need me”. Many managers have difficulty successfully and gracefully managing this. That difficulty turns into frustration, stress, loss productivity and sometimes even resentment.

Thoughtfully managing interruptions is a great way to demonstrate and express leadership and there are several ways to do so. The key?… find one that is comfortable and that really works! Here is a simple approach and I’ve provided a link for an expanded explanation.

The key philosophy: Express a set time frame while giving permission for interaction. Partial open door means I have time for a quick conversation. So, you have to specifically define what that means 5 minutes, 10 minutes… you decide. The key is to express it clearly and plainly while keeping track. Give a nod to your watch, a clock on your desk or ask them to keep track.

When time is up, decide if you need to add more time or schedule a separate time and/or location to continue the discussion. Or, in some cases, the short conversation will have been enough time to adequately address the need.

Summary: Setting a time frame is leadership. You are the initiator – the leader of – how the time will go. As in any relationship, someone leads someone. In this specific case, are they leading you or are you leading them?

The 2nd part of that leadership is successfully holding and/or managing that time frame. How we work with time when interacting with others is an opportunity to establish boundaries. Don’t pass it up!

2 > Time Mapping With Teams – An Element of Team Management

Time mapping is a time management strategy I identify as an essential time management skill. In fact, it is one of the first time management exercises I ask those I coach to do.

Time mapping is the act of using a week-at-a-glance to track the use of time and/or map out an ideal use of time. A week-at-a-glance can be seen and used as a time management grid. It involves strategic thinking in planning how and when to get results. It also builds time awareness which facilitates better decision-making (another foundational time management skill).

Since we typically don’t work alone and teams are equally responsible for results, it would seem logical to coordinate to some degree how, collectively, things will get done to get desired results.

Consider, therefore, if in expressing your weekly leadership and management, you include a short time mapping session with your team to lead strategic action through the lens of time.

Imagine the value to these discussions – not in anyway to micro-manage – but in a way to have strategic discussions (which I think is generally lacking within teams) to bring clarity to time sensitive priorities in the context of a fixed time frame – e.g. a day, a week, a month.

Summary: Here’s the thing – time if fixed. You only have so much of it. So being aware of it and how it’s used is fundamental to effective team management, operational and business management.

Final conclusion: Working with effective time management strategies is a meaningful way of expressing, demonstrating leadership …and really is not an option to achieve needed results for better business outcomes! Recommendation – if these tips apply to you – give them a try and let me know how it goes!