• Nuno Moreira da Cruz

Time management as a key leadership skill

In my last blog post I referred to the importance of a leader showing availability to those working for him. Of course this skill can only be exercised if that same leader has also another key skill: time management.

Managing agendas, as we all know, is a hard thing to do, so planning and devoting time to it is crucial. And when I say planning, really means detail planning - good example of this are those managers who put meetings back to back when they know that at least there will be 5 to 10m that they need to do whatever needs to be done (reply to an e-mail, answer a phone call, go to a meeting room in a different floor...). Detail? Not at all, at the end of the day you can be sure that the last meeting of the day will start one hour later (or worse, will be cancelled because somebody needed to go home, or even worse, that same "somebody" did not go home when he/she really needed to go and "hard feelings" start mounting).

The higher you sit on an organization the more important "time management" becomes. When a senior leader changes his/her agenda, the impact in the organisation is huge: the "cascading" effect will happen, one change in the leaders's agenda has a multiplying effect in the whole organisation and a dozen other meetings will need to be rescheduled. And the more hierarchical and less transparent is the culture the worst it is, because no one has the guts to tell the boss (or even the secretary of the boss) "sorry I have another meeting happening". I have seen this happening even when the scheduled meeting is with...a customer.

Time management is pivotal to the efficiency of any organisation and the example needs to be set from the top. I never forget one leader I had who never scheduled a meeting to 9h or 10h30 (or whatever precise time it would be): he would convene the meetings for 9h05, 10h40... The message was abundantly clear to everyone.

Time Management is a key leadership skill.