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Managing versus Doing: Getting the Balance Right
by Duncan Brodie

One of the biggest challenges facing those taking on a management or supervisory role is finding the time to manage. It can sometimes feel like that you have 100% of your time allocated to doing tasks and the only way to fit in the management part of the job is to do lots of unpaid extra hours. So how can you start to address this dilemma?

Be clear on what is expected of you

As a new manager you need to get absolute clarity on what is expected of you and how your performance in the job will be measured. The last thing you want is to get to your appraisal and find out that you have been aiming for the wrong target.

Set aside time for managing

If you do a 40 hour week and you know that management will take up about 40% of your time, block out 16 hours in your calendar each week and set up a schedule of things that you will work on. It might be appraisals, work planning, recruiting, staff training, customer surveys, management meetings to name a few.

Let go of the jobs you do not need to do

You might love doing that piece of analysis work on excel that you have always done but you know deep down that someone else can do it. Train them and let go of it.

Be accessible but manage interruptions

Managers love to talk about having an open door policy, but make sure that people understand that this does not mean they can interrupt you whenever it suits them. Have slots when your team can come to you to discuss issues and make sure people know when they are. With e-mails, set aside times in you day to deal with them. If it a real emergency someone will call you. You may also need quiet time to focus on a report or presentation. Divert your phone to someone else if you can or to voicemail.

Build in some space in your schedule

Things crop up that you did not expect or anticipate, so make provision for these in your schedule so that you can be flexible and responsive.

Ask for help if you are getting overloaded

We all have blind spots. If you are finding that you are getting overloaded and cannot seem to find a way through, ask for help. Merely sitting down with someone else and asking them to take a look at the challenges with you and help find solutions can get you back on track and delivering great results.

At the end of the day there is no magic solution but taking control is a powerful first step.

Duncan Brodie may be contacted at

Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements Ltd (G&A) works with individuals, teams and organisations to develop their management and leadership capability. Sign up for his free e-course and monthly newsletter at



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