By Lara Tewes, assistant director of prospect development and research, Northwell Health
Prospect development teams generally get involved with a wide variety of projects and interface with teams organization-wide. As a manager of a prospect development team, good time management skills are vital and will help you feel in control as you navigate your team through waves of work and uncertainty. You need to not just manage your time and energy as previously discussed in part one, but you need to provide support and direction to your team as well.
Managing Time Expectations
Similarly to managing one’s own time and energies, as a leader, you need to help your team manage their time and to help them build their own arsenal of time management skills. While this can be a formal initiative you take via mentoring, it can also be done subtly through modeling and empowering them to say no to unreasonable requests whenever possible. Sometimes it is as simple as a quick reminder that every time we say “yes” to one project, we are invariably saying “no” to something else. That said, you also must model this behavior because if your teammates see you exceeding your bandwidth and always saying yes, that will trickle down. The same goes for the hours you keep in office. Telling your teammates to go home should coincide with you leaving as well. If team members see you regularly pulling out a cot in your office, they will likely emulate this pattern.
One of the best ways to manage you and your team’s workflow is by utilizing a priority matrix. This tool divides tasks/projects/responsibilities into four quadrants according to how critical the task/project is to the organization and then the immediacy of need. By first segmenting critical tasks/projects from noncritical ones, you can correctly prioritize the most important projects to ensure that they get done on time. By subdividing those two categories by their immediacy, you can easily decide what should be delegated to a team member versus placed in a parking lot.
Looking for time management tips for yourself as an individual? Head back to part one of this series here.
Meetings, Meetings Everywhere
We all have had those days where we feel as though we have been “shot out of a cannon,” moving from one meeting to another and, by the end of the day, you finally find yourself able to answer a few emails before your brain shuts down. Some meetings are necessary, some are informational and others are probably not exactly productive.
In general, if you are faced with many meetings, color coding them by function could be useful when planning out your week. It will allow you to quickly see what your month and week look like at a quick glance. It is also helpful to maintain a running log of topics discussed, next steps to be taken and decisions made as a result of each meeting series to ensure you — and others — stay on track.
While you cannot take charge of your colleagues’ meetings, you can prepare for all meetings you run and make sure they are necessary, have a clear purpose and prepared agenda that is distributed at least half a day beforehand. If while planning the meeting out you cannot find a clear purpose for it, perhaps it would be best to cancel or postpone it depending on the circumstances.
Plan for Trial and Error
Take time to find what time management tricks work for you and your team, and don’t be afraid to solicit feedback. It may take some effort, but with steady practice, you will find the right rhythm and flow that benefits your team.
Learn more about the author of this article on the Connections Thought Leaders Page.