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Author Topic: Help With Time Management - Newbie  (Read 6243 times)
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« on: March 14, 2012, 11:07:21 am »

First off all, good morning all, I am new to this site.

I will tell you something about me first.  I am working for a avaition company, that has expanded within the last years, from 40 staff to 140 staff, worldwide.  My boss, is the director of 80 of those staff.  I started in the company 6 years ago, as an admin assistant, and have worked my way up to PA (well almost).  I do the work of his PA, the only this I dont see are his emails, which we are currently working on getting. 

However, as you can imagine, he is extremely busy, and being the director for such a large area, everyone wants a peice of him, and he is struggling at the moment to get any desk time, and feels like he is being pulled from pillar to post.   I block a Wednesday morning out for him each week, however, he rarely keeps to it, so I have spoke to him about commiting to the time that I set aside for him.

I would be really greatful if you could give me some advise on how you manage your boss' calendar and get him to commit to the arrangements you make for him.

Many thanks

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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2012, 11:33:24 am »

Firstly welcome to DD.

As we have discussed in many other threads, you can only manage those who want to be managed.  I have worked for many individuals who simply did not want or need to be managed.

In my company we work in a very fast-paced environment, so managers and directors have learnt to keep to schedules.  That means secretaries being ahead of the game and knowing how much time to set aside for meetings and manage their bosses diaries accordingly eg. not overloading it.

Many of our managers and directors are self-sufficient but the thing is, they want to be managed and organised to so they allow us to do that.  On occasions urgent matters do arise but generally, it all works because -

a) secretaries are allowed to manage
b) managers/directors want to be managed

What you have to ask yourself is, why is your boss struggling for "desk time"?  Why does he "rarely" stick to his schedule?  Does he need to be involved in every meeting/telecon/review?  Can he delegate more responsibility to his first line support?

I believe our company works well in this matter because we are structured and organised in a certain manner.  The CEO does not need to be involved in everything, we have programme managers and team leaders to take on that responsibility with information being fed into programme meetings, management meetings and so on.

My boss manages his time as well as I do mine, simply because we have to be organised and ready for the unexpected.

I know I harp on about time management but in my opinion this is key if everything else is to fall into place.  Get in early, do the big jobs in the morning and learn to delegate.
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2012, 03:37:16 pm »

There really isn't any way to get him to committ to time you set aside for him.  While there is truth that you can't manage someone who doesn't want to be managed there are sublte ways.  Ask in advance if he wants to be reminded of the next meeting if time is running over on a current meeting.  (Two fold keeps the people who are waiting happy and lets the current meeting members know they can't just run over.) 
5 minutes in the morning to give the day's events a run through, even if this is while he is in the car driving to work, or on the way to another meeting.  I would also look at a project management tool for your industry or even a share point site or help organized documents, team calendars etc.  In six years I'm sure you know his management style and can fashion yours after his for the most function.
Blocking out a large segment of one day is probably not the best method, it may be easier to block out an hour here or there.  If I were trying for that method, I would have a weekly or monthly meeting with his calendar and ask which times I could block from meetings knowing that some days would have to be fluid.
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2012, 05:49:41 pm »

Great advice.  Some bosses do thrive on being in demand by everyone and somehow at the end of the working week, have achieved all they needed to.  Organised chaos maybe? 

If, however, he feels that he is not getting things done then he needs to be strict with himself and insist that there are certain times when his door is shut and he just gets on with things - definately agree that such times are best done for say an hour or two at a time rather than half a day. Nothing like a deadline creeping up to make my boss hide away - well, he simply shuts the door and diverts phone to me for a couple of hours.

As Atlanta says, be subtle - make him think that you have his interests ar heart (which of course you do Wink ). Am sure at some point in the future when he suddenly realises that his working life is running more smoothly, he will thank you for it.

Good luck - keep us updated on progress!

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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2012, 07:35:50 pm »

First, Welcome to DD.  Hope you find we offer a lot to assist you and that you find us to be a friendly community.

As for your question... the #1 issue I am seeinng is that your Boss may not have made the transition from the small company boss to the large corporate boss that is needed.  If he had a portion of the original 40 employees, and now has 80 on his own, he may be trying to be hands-on in areas that he used to be able to do easily and is now finding himself overwhelmed.  But how can you help this, you may be asking.  Simple.  Start "taking over" in areas.  Find things that he is trying to do himself that you can do for him, and then do them.  Depending on the type of manager he is, you can either discuss it with him up front, or wait and see what he says when/if he notices as they drop off his plate.  Sometimes the whole issue is just training your Boss on time management in the new, larger company.  This is best done sitting down with him, see what he has on his schedule and suggesting others who might be able to handle the work and just report to him the outcome.  I would suggest that you plan a "morning briefing" for about 30 minutes every Monday morning, where the two of you sit down together and ensure that the calendar for the week is laid out, giving you an opportunity to suggest delegation of work if needed.  I had a boss who had this transition problem from hands-on as a Peer to the Boss of 30+ folks and this is how I helped him make the transition.  I explained to him that my role was to make his time easier, assist him in being more effecient, and basically be his right-hand, especially when he wasn't around.  We'd meet twice a week, normally on Mon and Wed mornings, to discuss the schedule, issues, and to see what either of us thought of potentials for delegation, mentoring of others, etc to make his life run more smoothly.  By meeting again mid-week, I could ensure I had face time with him for any issues that I may have "unofficially" heard about that may be coming up on his radar in the near future, thus keeping him informed and ready ahead of the game.

If you can work out a schedule that works for you and your Boss, and you get him to stick to it where he starts getting some desk time, you'll find it easier to get him to schedule that desk time as he sees the benefits.  Right now you have to sell him on the idea, and he's not buying.  He sounds very assessible and hands-on, which isn't bad when you have only a few folks, but the more folks all wanting that hands-on treatment, the less time you have to do anything else.  He, and those employees, have to be retrained.  Perhaps some of the stuff he is doing is stuff you can handle.  Folks have questions about upcoming events, are they going to him or you?  Ditto with requests, to you or him?  You wouldn't be in the position you're in if you are not knowledgable and have the skills, so it's just getting the chance to use them and show him (and others) the full potential of your skills.

Good luck, and please do keep us informed on your progress.  And welcome, once more!

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