Your time is valuable . . .

So is that of your staff

If you’re like most high-level executives, you have little time to waste on trivialities. When people deal with you, you expect them-and rightfully so-to get straight to the point. After all, time is money.

Expect no less from the people who work for you. When juggling a demanding schedule, it’s sometimes easy to forget that your employees also have hectic work routines of their own. For them, as for you, time is a precious commodity that should be spent productively.

These days, everyone is expected to produce more in seemingly less time, and your employees need every minute of their workday. Here are some tips from Positive Leadership (www.ragan.com), a Chicago-based management newsletter, on how to show them that you value their time as much as they respect yours:

  • Leave your cell phone alone. Emergencies withstanding, fight the temptation to call an employee burning the midnight oil at the office while you’re on your way home. Your staff doesn’t arrive early or stay late for nothing. They do it-and give up their personal time in the process-to get some extra work done. Let them do so in peace.
  • Control meeting times. Set specific times (say, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.) and make promptness mandatory for everyone-yourself included. If the agenda has been covered, but further discussion could extend the meeting past the designated time, give employees who cannot stay longer the opportunity to leave.
  • Follow the “24-hour rule.” Don’t blow off questions posed by staff members. If you don’t have an immediate answer, let them know you will have one within 24 hours. Follow through by having an answer ready at the agreed-upon time.
  • Acknowledge hardworking employees’ families. Family life usually takes a backseat when a worker stays late to finish assignments. Show that you appreciate the extra time they put in by offering small tokens of appreciation-a card or tickets to a play, for example-to the spouses or families.
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