Good Leaders Don’t Waste Their People’s Time

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg Employees have a laser like instinct for knowing which activities advance the cause of their company, its missions and purposes.  They know their own role within that framework even better.  Any activity that doesn’t contribute, at least indirectly, toward furthering the organization’s cause will instantly be perceived as a waste of their time.  Whether the activity is imposed directly by the leadership, an outdated “zombie” process that should have been killed long ago, or an external requirement, employees will know that their time is being misspent; wasted.  And people hate that, we all do.  Wasting employees’ time is one of the most common and most resented signs of disrespect in the workplace today.  It’s resented so deeply because it’s personal, and seen as disrespectful.

It says this about leaders:

  • They don’t know what’s important in the jobs and lives of their employees as it relates to their role in the company.
  • They don’t care enough about the employees to value their time.
  • They don’t know what activities add value to the company and its mission.
  • They care more about some marginally related benefit of the time wasting activity than the employees, their time, or the company.

Work places abound with pro forma “requirements”, mandatory employee programs, reporting that is never read or acted upon, compulsory attendance at large gatherings, and countless other things that produce little or no result and simultaneously alienate the very people who are the foundation of all that the business needs to thrive.  These kinds of things are truly hated in with workforce. Many/most of them are management’s lazy method of “connecting with the employees” in ways that are more convenient for the leadership than they are effective in genuinely connecting.  Employees see them for what they are, just that.  The more talented and capable the employee, the more she/he will resent it.

Employees need and want “news they can use”, not time wasting and superficial engagement.  Good leaders don’t waste their people’s time, and they don’t let others waste employees’ time either.

It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste. – Henry Ford

Many thanks, Keith Stalder, #23

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