In my book, A Leader's Gift - How to Earn the Right to Be Followed, I explain how one of the fundamental traits of a lasting leader is the gift of investing time in others.
Leaders are not typically solo flyers or lonely creative thinkers. Instead, they are called upon to assemble a team of people and enable them to be more productive together than any of them could be alone. Though all leaders will attest to being strapped for time, I believe that investing time in your team will yield results that are worth every minute spent.
We can't create time, but when we invest our time to build profitable relationships, we do multiply the effect of our time. I explain this principle fully in A Leader's Gift. Today, I want to focus on one aspect with you: an actionable strategy that will ensure that you are investing that necessary time with your team in a measurable way.
Start a spreadsheet that will track the amount of time you spend with each associate. There are 3 distinct segments of time you have to plan for, measure, and evaluate:
The employees who report to you need time daily. Make sure you spend 60 seconds with every one of your direct reports every day. Avoid patterns that make it seem like a ritual. Use this time to listen to each individual.Your direct reports need time every week. Based on how many you have, this can be between 15 and 30 minutes each week. It should be one-on-one time for up to half an hour over lunch, in your office or theirs, or via Skype or phone for remote employees.Your direct reports need time monthly. Invest one hour one-on-one with each of your direct reports each month.
After each encounter, evaluate by asking yourself:
What did I learn?What action, if any, do I need to take?What do I need to cover in the future with my associate?
You can spend this time now or spend it later, fixing problems or replacing people because you did not invest enough time on them along the way. Giving the gift of time is worthy of our attention, our measurement, and our progress if we expect to create a collaborative environment for success.
For more, see Chapter 4 of A Leader's Gift.