Which is it, are you the disorganized boss, or is it the employee who is disorganized? One sure sign of disorganization is poor time management, and the result is diminished productivity. It doesn’t matter if it is the boss or the employee who is disorganized since both of your styles affect one another and your work. If you are the disorganized boss (late for meetings, unprepared, difficulty prioritizing) with the organized employee here are some strategies to put into place: Ask the employee to work out a system to signal you 10-15 minutes before your next appointment, task, or when you need to leave the office to commute. Have a brief daily planning session to review what got done that day, what needs additional time (schedule it), and what is coming up for the next 2-3 days. Schedule blocks of time for your open door hour(s). Let your employees know when those times are. Ask your administrative assistant to schedule time for employees that need to meet with you at other times. But wait, what if you are the organized boss with a disorganized employee (can’t find what you need when you need it, poor scheduling skills, multi-tasker)? The most effective strategies to use in this scenario include: Clear, documented communication about expectations, including timelines. Ongoing reviews of the employees progress and opportunities for him/her to ask for help. Measurable goals with expected outcomes. Implement the necessary strategies today and whenever possible, be proactive. It’s not really the employee’s responsibility to take the leadership role in getting things organized.
Here is an important tip for the boss who feels disorganized: Get to the point! Your team members will perceive you as more organized if your communication is straightforward and succinct. However, if your thoughts and communication are disorganized it will impact your team members and employees in various ways: Ability to follow directions Understanding expectations Capacity to help the organization’s goals Identify your strengths – are you stronger verbally or in writing? If your strength is in verbally articulating your goals, expectations, and standards ask someone to record what you say in writing. Have them say it back to you to check for accuracy before it is distributed to other team members. If your ability to convey information in writing is stronger, highlight the key points verbally from your notes, then distribute the written version. Now for the critical measure of functioning as an organized boss… Identify the key 2-3 points you need to communicate. Tell your team what you are going to talk to them about and then tell them. Summarize what you told them. Then, ask them if there is anything that they need clarified. By modeling this type of communication, one that builds from your strengths, you can expect others to do the same. Try it, role play it, get feedback. I promise that your organization ranking will increase! As a Time Management Coach and Professional Organizer my mantra is schedule time to plan this. Don’t try to wing it!
Are you a disorganized boss? If so, it will often become apparent in your daily and weekly schedule. Does this sound familiar? Unprepared for meetings Working on things at the last minute No time scheduled for planning If that sounds like you then there are 2 ways to address these issues. First, if you have an organized administrative assistant, have him or her create a weekly template with blocks of time dedicated to specific activities. If you do not have someone to delegate this task to it is helpful to work with a Time Management Coach/Professional Organizer who can help you set up this type of system. Keep it simple and use one type of calendar, if possible. Whether it is a paper planner or online calendar it is important to be able to view the entire week. Secondly, make sure that your weekly schedule includes time to plan ahead each day as well as at the end of each week. You will feel, think and behave in more organized and productive ways when you create these 2 time management habits!
Are your employees frustrated because they think that you are a disorganized boss? As your San Diego Organizer and Time Management Coach I’ve been reading a lot about tips to help employees work with their disorganized bosses. It is ultimately the responsibility of the boss, or person in the leadership role, to ensure productivity, adequate workflow, and communication with employees. How would you know if you were a disorganized boss? Do you observe any of the following signs: Difficulty meeting deadlines Unable to find important items when they are needed Need to re-explain directions to others repeatedly It’s not always easy to be an objective observer and it’s even more difficult for an employee to broach this topic with their boss. So I would offer TIP #1 for the boss: Identify and be able to articulate your strengths to your employees. Use that information to begin the conversation about which strengths you need from them. Collaborate and build those processes into your systems and procedures. I promise great results!