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Why Managers Work 80 Hours a Week

Managers short on time may not be using it wisely. Investing in "people time" vs. "task time" will produce long term benefits for managers and their teams. Task time is spent doing work whereas people time is spent seeing that work gets done through others. You can't do both without working 80 hours a week.


Non-management jobs tend to be primarily involved in completing tasks. As you rise in an organization, the proportion of people time should rise too. That translates into less time spent performing subordinates' tasks and more time spent coaching, giving direction, providing feedback and recognition.


How do managers get stuck in their employee's task time? Here are three reasons.


"If you want it done right, you've got to do it yourself." What they mean is, when anything goes wrong, as it will, they want to be rescuers. They also may have problems with delegation and trust.


"I want my subordinates to see I'm willing and able to do whatever I expect them to do." Valid reasoning? If so, a chicken farmer would have to lay an egg a day to keep his hens' respect. Respect will come by making it easier for employees to do their job and recognizing them when they do it well.


"I owe it to my subordinates to give them frequent examples of how things look when it's done right." Does this manager believe his subordinates will never catch on? Let employees excel and demonstrate ways to improve how works gets done, not simply repeating how the manager does it. Encouraging employees to innovate and own their work is a key driver to increase employee engagement and productivity.


Here's an even bigger reason to consider. Psychologists say most people have a strong tendency to retreat to the familiar - to tasks they like and have learned to do well. This creates problems for organizations that have not developed their managers and simply promote those who best performed the tasks.


Managers have discretion only over a small part of their time. Using it to develop their team, clarify goals, communicate expectations and eliminate roadblocks enables them to achieve more in less time.

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2020 Tom Schreiber