Make Time

Why can’t all managers be more like my dad. He had time for everything!

Without question my father is one of the greatest managers I have ever met. Indeed, the now retired, Hugo Mc Farlane (known as Mr. Mac to all who were not brave enough to call him what his kids do – Hugo!), epitomised what management means to me. You see, as a child, I remember visiting my dad’s office (to make PROPER USE of copy paper – who say paper planes???) and always seeing his door open. There were almost always people in his office and when there were not, he was in some employees office. In my younger days, I just figured dad was, well, popular. As I am older, I realise he was more than that – he was (and is) revered, respected and responsible. Its no suprise his agency (insurance) won award after award and he was in the paper for all kinds of boards and volunteer activities.

Ok – so who has time for all that talking right? Answer: if you want to be a manager – you need to make time.

Without a doubt the biggest lie “management” tells itself is that it “does not have time” for the employee complaints or concerns or for “teaching them their jobs”. We (yes we – I am a manager too), get frustrated when coworkers don’t know subject verb agreement, are late for meetings, or send you documents to review with short notice.  WE roll our eyes, shake heads, ignore emails or worse….close our doors to “THEM” because “WE” have more work today. If you are a manager like that, you have a problem. MAKE TIME TO CHANGE:

TIP 1: Change your language losers!  If you refer to coworkers as employees, lower level staff, general staff or them/they you may as well say – slaves/ minions/ etc. At Apple, people call Steve Jobs “Steve”. They send him email and he writes back. He blogs. Everyone goes to work in casual dress. The result? Quarter after Quarter of amazing financial results and a brand that is defining what generation Y and Z refer to as cool.

TIP 2: Take a moment to listen. Ok. You have client meetings, deadlines and hell a life beyond the office. Guess what? Two minutes from your life to listen to a coworker won’t through everything off schedule. Often, in the 2 minutes it takes for the coworker to ask you a question, they probably answer it themselves and, if not, guess what? In 1 minute, you can get them going to find the answer themselves or help nurture a future top performing employee. At the very least, coworkers may hate you a microbit less if you let them talk for 2 minutes AND you actually appear to listen…Guess what? That person is a lot more likely to work late, forgoing a family event or drink with buddies if they feel you actually care about them and cherish their contribution to YOUR success. Gee – see what 2 minutes can do?

TIP 3: Remember the power of a conversation. WAIT! Don’t hit send on that email! Extend arm. Pick up receiver and have a phone call. OMG – SHOCK someone with this sure fire recipe to make your coworkers think you might actually NOT live in a crypt! Get off your chair and go visit their work space! Knock before you enter (even on a cubicle wall). Make a positive comment when you arrive there and then begin your conversation. End with something positive too. This recipe will yield a productive conversation and a bit more respect from a coworker. Imagine all that from NOT sending an email – who figured!  

TIP 4: Freakin be human. If you pass by someones office, say freakin good morning or afternoon or even a simple hey. Break your neck and make eye contact. You’d be surprized how far a little face to face humanity can go in an office that is increasingly PC (or MAC) screen driven.

TIP 5: Make time to live. You make time for a guilty pleasure somewhere in your day right? Jeez I hope so. If you’re at work before dawn and leave after dark every day and you still don’t have time…If you never have time to read “their” email, find out about “their” issues or attend yet another of “their” meetings….If you can’t remember the last time you gave somebody a hug (or received one) or the last time someone told you thank you OR the last time you made someone smile… Your tight ass is probably getting bigger and your personal life probably sucks. Get a damn life losers. Start it by “scheduling”  time for yourself and for those closest to you. Schedule a “Team retreat” (ie: 2 hours of freakin ice cream on a Monday afternoon ‘just because’) to help your team bond beyond the computer screen. ‘Schedule’ a random act of kindness – shock ’em and send them home early one Friday afternoon because you want them to ‘appreciate life on the outside’ – you’d be surprised. Making that time and those sacrifices…you might wake up calmer just like Mr. Mac.



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3 Responses to “Make Time”

  1. Haydn Dunn Says:

    This article gave me some valuable insights in becoming an effective manager .. Thank You

  2. Mark Lyndersay Says:

    Among your better blog posts, and there have been several, this one stands out as exceptional. It’s heartfelt and nuanced with experience. It also takes me back to my days in corporate life, and not entirely in a good way. I’d have loved to send this to some of my former “superiors.”

  3. Joanne Says:

    Dani, this post epitomizes what makes a good “boss”. I’ve had many who were amazing (like your father) and who were never too busy to be “interrupted” even if it meant that they had to stay late to finish up their own work. Then there were the others at the other end of the spectrum, who, quite frankly, I would like to anonymously email this post! I hope that the day that someone trusts me with a staff I remember all of these lessons.

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