For additional articles by topic
Do you often find yourself feeling overwhelmed? Do you feel like your list of things to do is never ending? When looking back on your workday do you feel like you have done mountains for other people and yet you haven’t accomplished what you really wanted to do? If you answered yes to any of these questions chances are you have too many monkey stealing your time.
Most of us are familiar with the phrase “monkey on your back” which refers to some type of problem that you are dealing with. In the workplace, a monkey is not so much as a problem that you are dealing with, but a task that you have suddenly taken on that somebody else was responsible for.
Remember that person who stopped you in the hall and told you about a huge problem that was going on. As soon as you heard the words “we have a problem,” you decided to take action and get involved. What you did not stop to think about was that you now allowed that monkey to climb onto your back, your colleague just successfully sifted responsibility for the problem onto your shoulders.
While it is great to help your colleagues, there comes a time when you just have to say no. Taking on too many tasks makes it nearly impossible to do your own job; you are constantly running out of time to get everything done. What people with ‘monkey issues’ need to learn is effective management or put another way find a smarter way to say “No” to picking up other people’s issues, it is the only way to stop taking on so many monkeys! [Easier said than done as I spent the weekend fixing my daughters' computers, completing my wife's tax return and chasing the builders working on the apartment upstairs to come and fix the overflow pipe that's overflowing constantly onto my window frame!].
Effective management not only gets rid of those time consuming monkeys, giving you back the time you need to do your own job, but it also helps better your colleagues. By not taking on your colleagues’ monkeys, you are forcing your colleagues to deal with the problem. This can mean giving your colleagues new skills allowing them to learn and grow for themselves.
How to get the Monkeys back where they belong
Not sure how to stop accepting those monkeys, want to make sure they stay with their rightful owners. If so following these three effective management tips will ensure you no longer accept any more time consuming monkeys!
- Make Appointments – One of the worst things that you can do is stop and talk about any problems your employees might have in random places, such as hallways. Instead, make an appointment with them to come into your office to discuss what is going on.
- Get employees Involved – Effective management means getting your employees involved, but only you can specific to what level. When your employees come into to discuss the issue at hand specify how involved you want them to be. Employees can sit back and wait until they are told what to do, they can be given the freedom to solve the issue on their own or they can be involved at some level in between, but you as a manager must inform them of how involved they should be and never let them sit back and do nothing!
- Look At Your Motives – Make sure you look at your own motives. Many managers tend to limit the amount of responsibility their employees have because they are afraid it will make them as a manager look bad and useless. This is mainly due to insecurities. Effective management plans involves giving up direct control, giving your employees a chance to grow and become a better employee from that growth!
Ridding yourself of monkeys will allow you to regain proper use of your time, as well as lower your stress levels. So what are you waiting for, the sooner you put these effective management tips to use the better!