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Last week I had a conversation with one of my long-time clients. His issue was, in a nutshell, not having time to do his job because he was too busy doing the job of his staff.

What does that mean?

In his situation this meant:

  • Doing the work of staff who had been recruited but had not yet started
  • Doing the work of staff who were late to work
  • Doing the work of staff who were on sick leave or annual leave
  • Doing the work of staff who were unreliable in fulfilling the basic functions of their job
  • Doing the work of staff who were not at work that day because they work part-time
  • Doing the work of staff who needed to be hired but were not within the budget, as yet
  • Doing the work of staff who were over-servicing other clients
  • Doing the work of staff who were not meeting client expectations of promptness and effectiveness

Sound familiar?

Many leaders bemoan their lack of time to ‘work on the business, not in it’. In other words, to do work that ensures the future health of the business. This complaint usually means the leader isn’t, most of the time, doing their job but rather they are doing someone else’s job.

One of the most important things a leader can do is to ensure that he/she is doing their own job and other people are doing their own job. As the leader it is easy to fall into the trap of trying to solve everyone else’s problems which ends up being a recipe for stress and overwork at the expense of your own working hours, job satisfaction, and the company’s overall results.

A leader creates the time to do their own job by doing the following with the people that report to them:

  1. Giving them clear accountabilities (ie results to deliver)
  2. Giving them clear responsibilities (ie duties/tasks to perform)
  3. Ensuring they have the skills, motivation, and resources to undertake their responsibilities and deliver the agreed results
  4. Providing them with regular and timely feedback and coaching
  5. Holding them accountable
  6. Acknowledging and rewarding them

Whose job are you doing right now?

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