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Improving Your Personal Effectiveness As A Manager or Leader
by Duncan Brodie

Your own personal effectiveness is a key contributor in terms of what you achieve as a manager or leader. It is easy to focus all of your attention on others but there are significant gains to be made by being more personally effective. What action can you take to improve your personal effectiveness?

Organise your time

As a manager or leader, do you really know where you spend your time? One of the most common complaints you hear these days is that there is not enough time or that time is scarce. Truth is there is the same amount of time today as there always was and some would argue that with advances in technology many manual tasks can now be automated. To organise your time you need to understand:

1. Your key deliverables. When working with clients, I am surprised how often people in management and leadership roles don't fully appreciate what their key deliverables or results areas are. If this applies to you, make a point of finding out.

2. Where you spend your time. When was the last time that you analysed where you spend your time over the month? I remember having to keep a timesheet when I worked in the large accounting practices. While it was a bind at times, it was really easy to see where your time was being spent and whether you were focusing on key deliverables.

Manage your manager

Senior people can often interrupt or get in the way without even being aware of the impact they are having. You know the scenario. You are just in the middle of working through something technically complex when your boss wants to ask you that quick question or just quickly look at something.

Make a point of agreeing with your boss how you can work together in a way that minimises routine interruptions. You might need to start with a 15 minute meeting every morning and gradually move to a weekly meeting. Find out what will work best for both of you.

Work out what only you can do

There will be a lot of tasks that you are doing and chances are there will be a few that only you can do. This might be because you are the only person with the experience or qualifications. Go through the list of tasks you do and identify those that only you can do.

Start to delegate

Most people love to hold on to tasks. They might be worried that they will lose their job because they don't have enough to do. They might be frightened to pass on tasks for fear that someone else will not do as good a job or even that they will do a better job. They might be convincing themselves that they don't have the time to train someone else.

If you want to improve you personal effectiveness, start focusing on your key deliverables and start empowering others. After all is that not the reason you are a manager and leader?

Organise your office

Chances are you get a lot of paperwork. You might have files or bundles everywhere but are they really organised? Unless you can put your hand on things quickly and easily, chances are your office is not organised. Take the time to get your office organised. Better still delegate or give it to someone who will do it better like a PA or professional office organiser.

The demands on managers and leaders to do more with less is common and in many ways the norm. Yet by taking some simple steps, you can improve your productivity and personal effectiveness dramatically.

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 Duncan Brodie may be contacted at


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