Managers have the difficult responsibility of achieving their own goals to meet the business objectives of their company while simultaneously overseeing the performance of its employees.
As a leader, you want to make sure you’re there for your team when they have questions or need guidance. However, it’s important to strike a balance between meeting your own goals and making yourself available to your staff.
To help, members of Young Entrepreneur Council offered 10 steps managers can take to achieve this balance.
Young Entrepreneur Council members discuss ways managers can guide their teams while still meeting their own goals.
Photos courtesy of the individual members.
1. Provide A ‘Hotline’ For Your Team
If you can, picture the red phone that sits on the president’s desk—the direct link between the United States and Russia during the Cold War; you need something similar to that running from your team to you. For me, it’s a backup cellphone number that I hand out sparingly. This “hotline” lets you ignore emails and Slack for hours at a time if you need to. You can get focused work done, free from distractions (most of which are external) and safe in the knowledge that your team can reach you when it really matters. – James Pelly, OXO
2. Hold A Weekly Team Meeting
At the very least, have a weekly meeting with the team. I have my team meet once a week, and each of us brings up a situation that we ran into with a client that we would like to bounce off of the group as a sounding board. We each hear different perspectives on our obstacles in order to help us decide the best course moving forward. – Avery Carl, The Short Term Shop
3. Let Go Of Your Ego
Being a manager, for me, actually means being an effective leader for people and an efficient professional for the company I work for. And again, that means forgetting about the ego, mind or experience, giving people space and empowering them to think loudly, make mistakes, bear responsibility for their choices and be accountable for what happens. Organizational culture itself is the best balance for me and others around me. If I’d advise one key step to take: Forget about yourself. – Dmitrij Żatuchin, DO OK
4. Try An Open-Door Policy
Have you tried an open-door policy? I get it. You’re scared of an erratic surge in traffic that will throw your work rhythm off balance. But fears and reality aren’t often the same thing. Not too many employees are coming to you for deep emotional or psychological problems where you have to spend 30 minutes to an hour as their therapist. For many, a quick answer to a brief question is enough. And with an open-door policy, having a desk near where your team works is enough. If you find yourself spending more than 10 minutes helping a team member with a problem, then you might consider creating weekly seminars or mini-courses to scale your teaching and mentoring efforts. Then, track your time and iterate until you find balance. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS – Integrated Marketing Solutions
5. Embrace Both Flexibility And Boundaries
The secret to chasing your own goals while still making sure you’re available for your team is to embrace both flexibility and boundaries. Carve out time for your own goals each day, even if it means waking up an hour earlier or setting aside 30 minutes in the afternoon. Recognize that each day won’t be perfect; some days you won’t get around to working on your goals. Be flexible and open to jumping at each opportunity you do have. To maintain this flexibility, you must also set boundaries with your team. Let them know exactly when you are available each day and week. This ensures your time is well-managed and that you have time to pursue personal goals. Through a willingness to adapt and make the most of your time, you will be able to successfully lead your team and achieve your goals. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
6. Reward Both Managers And Teams
For the most part, managers don’t receive bonuses anymore, which is a main reason why they don’t push themselves to meet goals and put less effort into managing the team at the same time. If both managers and their teams are rewarded for meeting overall monthly goals, the managers will do their best to be available to the team while pushing themselves to meet the goal through their own efforts. Do this, and you’ll see a big impact. – Daisy Jing, Banish
7. Do Regular Team Checkups
As a leader, it’s important for you to set aside time with just your team to have conversations that are not task-related. Make it a regular practice to do a weekly or monthly checkup with your team. Ask them to come up with questions and discussion points before the meeting. In this type of meeting, let your team members’ interests and questions drive the conversation, and give them the space to say what’s on their mind. It can take some time for open communication to happen. But as you do this regularly, it will become easier and something to look forward to. You can also create an anonymous way for people to address concerns by creating a form that they can fill out. The important thing is to plan time for such meetings and adjust your other goals around them. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
8. Define Your ‘Office Hours’
The best college professors have clearly defined “office hours” when they would always be approachable to discuss anything a student wanted to ask. I believe business leaders can take this approach with similarly positive results. Although difficult, I recommend setting aside at least one or two hours in your daily schedule at a set time where you can be reached by other team members. Consistency and transparency are important; it defeats the purpose if your team members have to search for your availability because it changes every week. If you do this right, you should still be able to accomplish important tasks and schedule meetings while also being available for the rest of your team. – Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy
9. Let Them Know What’s On Your Plate
Be transparent with your team about what’s on your plate. Yes, your team members want you to be available, but they will also understand if you need four hours to focus on finishing up a yearly report. Give your team insight into what you’re working on and when you’ll be the most available. It will ease concerns if you’re not responding to a Slack within five minutes. – Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.
10. Empower Your Team To Be Autonomous
This advice is twofold: You need to empower your team members to solve problems on their own without needing to come to you for every solution. In order to do that well, you must also consistently equip, encourage and engage them. If you’ve done that effectively through weekly meetings, one-on-ones, performance plans, etc., then your team can run on asynchronous communication to give you updates on what’s been done, instead of asking for direction on what to do. – Trivinia Barber, PriorityVA