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Improve Your Time Management as a Working Manager

Now that you’re a manager, you’re a star-maker, not the star.


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  • McLean & Company interviewed five Human Resources and Leadership professionals.
  • McLean & Company fielded one eight-question survey with 171 respondents.
  • A newly promoted research manager provided insight into her struggles and successes with time management to supplement and test the advice.

Your Challenge

  • Managers need to balance their time between getting things done, managing employee responsibilities, and coaching employees to maintain engagement, productivity, and high performance.
  • 83% of managers spend more than 40 hours per week at work, causing burnout, frustration, lower quality work outputs, and strained relationships with direct reports and colleagues.
  • Managers must deal with internal and external pressures, along with downward pressure from business demands, upward pressure caused by staff needs, and ongoing daily operations.
  • Expectation setting is key to successfully managing time, but most managers don’t realize the ability they have to influence demands on their time.
  • Most managers have difficulty transferring ownership of key tasks to others. This lack of delegation leads managers to over-stretch their time, risking a decline in quality and potential missed deadlines.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Every manager seems to struggle with finding the time to get to everything they need to do. More than 60% of managers surveyed consistently work more than 45 hours a week.
  • There are seven roles that make up every Manager’s Portfolio: research, innovation, communication, daily operations, culture building, personal development, and staff development. All of these roles are essential to the success of the individual and the team.
  • Un-optimized management role portfolios lead to missed opportunities and lost resources. Managers with an effective portfolio work fewer hours and have a happier and more productive team.
  • There are five drivers of demand that must be managed by the manager: staff needs, business demands, job responsibilities, internal personal influences, and external personal influences. In order to balance the roles in their portfolio, managers need to recognize that they can impact these drivers to make positive changes.

Impact and Result

  • Understand the key roles every manager must play and the importance of balancing time allocation across all of them.
  • Determine ideal Manager Portfolio breakdown to know how much time should be spent on each role and why.
  • Set realistic time allocation expectations for management, employees, and key stakeholders.
  • Make concrete changes to the quality and quantity allocated to each of the roles within the portfolio.

Research & Tools

1. Learn the different roles within the Manager Portfolio and the different drivers of demand

Effectively adjust time allocation for successful staff and workload management.

2. Identify ideal time allocation for each role

Ensure your time is being used to achieve the most benefit.

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