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Dear Coach … My Staff Don’t Think For Themselves … I need your help!

By David Foster 5 months ago
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Dear Coach,

I need your help.

I’m having a nightmare with my staff!

They’re forever asking questions and it feels like most of my day is spent telling them what to do, or showing them how to do their job. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to repeat myself. Sometimes I wonder why I’m paying them because I’m doing the majority of their thinking for them!

And, when I’m not around for a day, it’s even worse!

I come back to a shit storm of things that haven’t been done, loads of mistakes, and even more questions – which then takes me about three days to get caught up and creates a knock-on effect with my workload.

I end up working late at night and weekends to catch up, which means I’m not seeing my wife and young children. My kids are growing up fast and things between me and my wife aren’t great.

Honestly, sometimes I feel like firing my team! It would save me loads of money and I’d get everything done the way I want it done, and not have to deal with all the constant questions.

Is this normal, do all businesses have these problems, or is it me?

Can you help?

Regards,

John.

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Dear John,

Thanks for reaching out and asking for help, that in itself isn’t easy, I can help.

I know how you feel and, to put your mind at rest, I come across this situation a lot with business owners. The great thing is that there is a way to stop the frustrations you mention happening – but, it takes time, and a willingness to learn new leadership and management skills.

Are you open to changing your leadership style?

Because, if not, nothing will change.

Someone once told me that if you want to find out who you really are, start a business.

Why?

It takes all your strengths, weaknesses, everything – and blows them up with a huge microscope for everyone to see.

Your business (and your life) is a reflection of you, your habits, behaviours, personality – you.

What you’re experiencing now is a symptom of the culture of the business – created by your leadership and management.

I know that might feel hard to read, especially with you being under pressure, but I’m here to serve and help you – not please you. I have your best interests at heart.

Until you grasp fully, with both hands, that everything you experience in your business can be traced back to your choices as a leader nothing will change.

I have two questions for you:

Can you see this?
Are you willing to go through the discomfort of change to solve these frustrations?
If the answer to both of these questions is yes, I can help. If not, there’s every likelihood your staff frustrations will keep repeating until you burn out, continuing to impact you and your family.

Let me know in the next 24 hours what your answers are to my two questions.

Warm regards,

Coach.

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Dear Coach,

Your email pissed me off. But, yes!

I can see this and want to change.

What next?

Regards,

John.

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Dear John,

Great to hear you’re up for the challenge and, most importantly, you can see how things are linked to your choices. I know how painful owning this can be.

Good diagnosis is more than half the cure, so, we need to identify what the root cause is of the issues you’re facing before jumping into strategy and tactics. Some questions …

Do you have a written down company vision that paints a clear picture of the way you want your company to act like, feel like, look like, over the next 1-3 years?
Do you have an organisational chart that shows all the positions from top to bottom in the business and who currently holds them?
Do you have any form of written job description for each position detailing what the result of the position is, along with a solid outline of the accountabilities, responsibilities, company-wide values, and standards?
What kind of meeting structure do you have in place with your team at the moment?
Warm regards,

Coach.

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Dear Coach,

Do you have a written down company vision that paints a clear picture of the way you want your company to act like, feel like, look like, over the next 1-3 years?

No!

Do you have an organisational chart that shows all the positions from top to bottom in the business and who currently holds them?

No.

Do you have any form of written job description for each position detailing what the result of the position is, along with a solid outline of the accountabilities, responsibilities, company-wide values, and standards?

No.

What kind of meeting structure do you have in place with your team at the moment?

We have weekly team meetings scheduled for sales, production and finance but they always tend to get moved or cancelled because I’m too busy!

Regards,

John.

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Dear John,

Ok, thanks for coming back to me so swiftly.

This is great news!

In the middle of all the crap you’re going through lies opportunity – even if you can’t see that yet.

Having these four things in place will help you become a better leader, and improve the culture of the business = less staff frustrations.

When it comes to finding solutions you’re actually asking yourself the wrong questions.

Rather than ask:

“Why do my team keep asking me questions and never live up to my expectations.”

You should ask:

“How can I create the time and space in my business so I can work on becoming a better manager and leader?”

If you were to dedicate one hour per day mon-fri, working ‘on’ your business to create a company vision, org chart, etc, everything would change.

How could you do this?

Is this possible for you at the moment to dedicate a solid five hours per week on strategic work?

Warm regards,

Coach.

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Dear Coach,

No chance, I don’t have time!

John.

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Dear John,

How do you know?

Do you track your time daily to the minute so you know exactly how you’re using your time?

Warm regards,

Coach.

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Dear Coach,

No. I don’t have time!

John.

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Dear John,

Ok. So, this is your first step in solving the problem.

You believe 100% that you don’t have time to allocate to developing yourself as a leader and manager – which I promise will help solve your frustrations.

Get the facts first.

Rather than assume.

Assumptions can be misleading.

So, your first assignment is … track your time.

Why?

If you don’t know how you’re using time how will you know what to change?

Start by using a very simple, and free, piece of software called Toggl (www.toggl.com).

Before you start tracking any time setup projects for the areas on which you know you spend time at work on. Don’t pick too many, go for 8-12 max to keep it easy to manage, too many projects will just add to your overwhelm.

Example projects:

Processing emails
Client emails / feedback
Sales
Marketing
Finance
Management
Strategic work
Client meetings
Lunch / bathroom / personal
The great thing about Toggl is that you can also add in some context as to what it is that you’re working on with more specificity. For example, let’s say you’re having a meeting with one of your staff, you would start the timer (which is browser based, and has an app for your desktop and phone – you can just use the browser to keep it simple). You would select the ‘Management’ project and then add in a small description about the meeting.

For example:

Management – Meet with Jane ref customer survey

Click the start button. Done.

So simple. Just a couple of clicks of a mouse button and a few words on a keyboard.

When the meeting is finished you might need a small break to freshen your mind. All you do then is click the next project and add a description, for example:

Lunch / bathroom / personal – bathroom

Rinse and repeat. From the minute you start work, to the minute you end.

You could also do this for personal time, but, start with work to keep it simple.

We all have 24 hours in a day. Whether you’re Richard Branson, Elon Musk, or Ghandi … you get to choose how you allocate your time.

Your time = your life.

If you track your time for two weeks you’ll be amazed to see what you find.

The very experience of just tracking your time will tell you everything you need to know about what your current priorities are, and then, with this heightened level of awareness you can choose to change.

Another great thing about Toggl is that it automatically sends you weekly reports of where you spent your time. You can also do this manually in the reports section.

Send me the data along with any insights you have in two weeks.

Warm regards,

Coach.

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Dear Coach,

I can’t see the point in this but … I’ll give it a go!

Chat in a couple of weeks.

John.

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To be continued …

Categories:
  Blog, Inspiration, Leadership, Management, Self organistation, Strategic Planning, Time management
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