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At predictable times throughout the year things can get pretty hectic in your career.
It’s one thing to have breathing space for yourself: a sense of control most times throughout the day. It is perhaps even more important as a CEO, partner, leader, or manager of others to convey a sense of breathing space to the people who report to you. There are many ways to do so.
In executing assignments, everyone should be afforded the opportunity to have as much leeway as possible, based on their own productivity levels, talents, and inclinations. In addition, here are five other ways to convey a sense of breathing space to your team members:
In issuing any assignments of a non-deadline nature, which ideally represent the majority of assignments – ask delegates when they can comfortably finish the assignments. That simple question, and the way you pose it, conveys a powerful message. It tells your team that you respect their time and schedules, and that you know they will do their best to choose a reasonable time frame and then honor that obligation.
Your team members relish the opportunity to be in on strategic sessions with you, at least on occasion. Since they see the organization from different angles than you, give them the lowdown on what you’re seeking to accomplish. They might know of potential opportunities and resources that have not been exploited. Encourage their participation, and don’t be surprised if you hear some gem ideas from people who previously had no outlet to offer them.
Soliciting feedback is not something that most leaders want to do, but something which all leaders need to do. Who could know better how you can improve your leadership capabilities than the people who report to you? Yes, you could receive some commentary that might not be all that useful. The brunt of it however, is likely to be useful and applicable.
Decades back, New York City mayor, the late Ed Koch, became famous for constantly inquiring of his constituents, “How am I doing?” Sure, he invited some unnecessary commentary, but he also received useful feedback. You can ask team members for their feedback in one-on-one meetings, or invite them to drop suggestions in a box attached to your door. Receive and review such suggestions in a gracious manner and act upon those that are worth pursuing.
Your team members represents varying levels of education, experience, training, observation, and insight. Your younger staff members likely can supply a wealth of information on technological issues, including greater use of the internet, social media, software applications, and mobile device applications.
It is to your benefit to quiz your team members often about what opportunities are available to you, the department, and the organization as a whole. No one has a monopoly on great ideas, and today, as situations change quickly and opportunities are fleeting, it pays to attain vital input from many, different qualified sources.
Books and articles on the best places to work are available. On a similar theme, you can conduct your own surveys for ideas on how everyone can have a greater sense of breathing space within your offices. Maybe having fewer meetings with greater impact will work. Maybe maintaining an open-door policy at specific intervals, offering telecommunicating days for key staff, or introducing other such innovations will make a positive significant difference.
Undoubtedly from the variety of ideas you receive, a few gems will be worth pursuing. In any case, involving your team in innovative ways gives everyone a greater sense of breathing space throughout the work week.
Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com
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