5 Essential Principles of Team-Based Time Management

“The most successful people are not only those people that are able to focus their own time, but those who are able to create shared focus with the people that they lead.” – Mark Sanborn

When we think of the term “time management”, we tend to think of managing our own time. Yet, for a leader, managing your team’s time is just as important. The tactics of team-based time management vary from the tactics one would use with personal-based time management. Below is a list of five essential principles of team-based time management:

  1. Everyone focuses on something, the question is what: With the exception, perhaps, of a Buddhist zen master, our brains are always focused on something every moment of the day. This truism applies to your team as well. As a leader, it’s important to understand what they’re working on. To stay in the loop, ask each team member to send you a weekly list of what they plan to accomplish during for the week.
  2. What you allow, you condone, and what you condone will continue: As a leader, it is important to be clear about what is allowed and what is not. This includes not just behavioral issues but performance issues as well. Once they understand what is not condoned, they can better choose from among the accepted tasks.
  3. What you celebrate, you encourage, and what gets encouraged gets accomplished: Be specific and deliberate about what constitutes a “win”. Employees are encouraged when they see their actions celebrated, and naturally, they will want to continue their winning streak. This helps your team not only better prioritize their time, but want to better prioritize their time.
  4. Don’t expect what you don’t inspect: Asking an employee to do something does not, by default, ensure it gets done. As a leader, it is your responsibility to set up an audit system to ensure things don’t fall through the cracks.
  5. Behavior is always believed over words: The saying, “Monkey see, monkey do” is funny, yet telling. The key word in the pun is “see”. Behavior is observed with closer scrutiny than words. Therefore, ensure that you adhere to the very time management principles you pass along to your team.