Many of our clients seem to have this issue…… You know the one where you think you have plenty of time to get through your to-do list during the day and then you keep getting interrupted with people (often your staff) who keep asking you questions. And while leadership is a role to serve your staff, you still need to strike that happy medium with getting your own work done.
Well there are a couple of tips we find useful to stop this situation…..
Stop answering their questions
If people keep asking you questions it’s generally because you keep answering them. Leadership is about empowering others to come up with their own solutions while you provide a sounding board. When you keep answering questions you are basically training others not to think for themselves.
If people keep coming to you looking for answers, it’s generally a sign that they need further training. One of the best ways to start doing that is to only respond to questions with other questions back to them. They will soon learn to expect a question instead of an answer, which will make them think through all possible questions before they come to you with their proposed solution.
Ensure you have specified times blocked out for people to speak with you
It’s always important to control your distractions so that they happen at a time that’s right for you. You might try having an hour or two a day where your team know they can randomly come and ask questions, but should know that outside of that time (especially your super productive time) is off limits.
In fact, they’ll probably start answering their own questions and that generally wouldn’t be too bad.
As an example I was once coaching a client in a mid-tier accounting firm who preferred to focus for longer periods and was super productive in the morning. He was managing two graduates who both had super short attention spans. He worked out that he had to give them multiple things to work on and then check in with them every afternoon to make sure they had enough to go on with and wouldn’t have to interrupt him during his productive time the following morning.
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