How can you help an employee with time management issues?
May 31, 2022
If you have an employee struggling with time management, it can be difficult to know how to address the issue. You may be annoyed they are not meeting deadlines, but you also want to develop team members who have the potential to be exceptional if they could determine how to use their time effectively.
Harvard Business Review offers practical steps you can take immediately to improve the situation.
Acknowledge your emotions. Your emotions could vary from mild annoyance to anger depending on the severity of the issues, how long there has been a problem, stakes involved, your personality and your stress levels. Before giving feedback, acknowledge your emotions. Instead of sharing your raw thoughts with the employee, write them out and process them with a trusted person. This helps you release negative emotions before giving feedback so you do not do more harm than good.
Assess your part. Consider whether you may have poor time management skills and are contributing to the problem. You could be playing a part if you send assignments last minute, do not give clear direction, refuse to set priorities or forget to give feedback. If you expect your employees to be constantly available through email, chat or other channels, you may be preventing them from setting boundaries to complete focused work. If you identify any issues, you can approach the conversation ready to acknowledge where you can do better.
Pinpoint the stress. If you can clarify your most important needs, it likely will reduce your stress and help you communicate what you need to receive most urgently. Think about why an employee’s lack of time management is causing issues for you. Are his or her actions costing you time or money? Do you feel anxious when there is not good communication regarding status? Once you have an answer, it can help focus the feedback you provide.
Communicate what you need. Calmly communicate exactly what you need, when you need it and why you need it. You also can ask what the employee needs from you to be successful.
Help at the start. If the employee needs more than feedback to improve the situation, you could consider helping to prioritize the work; brainstorm a direction to take; set up intermediate milestones; and request daily updates on what he or she has accomplished, among other steps.
Appreciate progress. When you start noticing improvement, show appreciation. Positive feedback helps to build confidence, positivity and motivation and can lead to better outcomes. The employee likely knows he or she has bad time management and may feel worse about it than you do. Instead of focusing on the negative, work to build the employee up.