At a Chick-fil-A Restaurant, time is a currency that is measured over and over to ensure leaders are being wise and impactful with how it’s spent. With a growing and highly talented team, it’s a constant battle to manage the tension between micromanaging and taking a step back.
How can you ensure that you maximize your time spent as a leader?
3 Tips to Maximize Time Management as a Leader
1. Start with Your Capacity
To lead effectively without anyone slipping through the cracks, it’s crucial to understand your capacity and establish support systems. With the growing task list, it’s easy to assume that as a leader, you have to do it all and lead everyone.
In 1922, Sir Ian Hamilton, a general in the British Army, introduced the concept of the “Span of Control”, which is widely used today. This concept helped a leader determine their capacity for the number of direct reports they could have while still being effective. Hamilton’s studies on British military leaders revealed that they were unable to efficiently lead more than three to six people.
When you work within your bandwidth, your level of impact increases. All of your energy won’t be spent with every single person in the kitchen, it would be spent with the managers/team leaders of the kitchen. A domino effect takes place, and what you spend pouring into them will spill over into the shifts they lead and the metrics they influence.
Begin to know your capacity by asking yourself:
- “How many direct reports do I currently have?”
- “How much time do I currently spend pouring into them?”
- “What could I shift in my schedule to make them more of a priority?”
2. Discuss the Progress of the Metrics
Before you can create a rhythm of discussing the progress of your metrics, you must first determine them. This takes careful planning and evaluation of your store’s mission and vision for your community. Once those are clear, you can get creative with how you communicate the desired metrics to your team.
Knowing the goals your store is after can help answer the question, “What do I spend my time towards?”. However, this is just the first step, most team members often struggle with the action-planning phase.
Getting an idea off the ground and having accountability and support within it is at the heart of creating forward momentum. Meeting regularly with your team to discuss their progress is imperative to proactively creating solutions.
Evaluating and discussing goal progress allows you to understand where you want to go, where you are now, and how to bridge the gap. Utilizing models such as Jordan Lippitt-Knoster’s Change Complex Model can be useful when diagnosing where a new idea might be failing.
Answer these questions to start evaluating goal progress:
- What is working well in the execution of the action plan and how can we continue doing it?
- What potential roadblocks or challenges have arisen during the execution of the action plan, and how can I mitigate or overcome them?
- Who is responsible for each action item, and what resources do they need to complete it?
3. Know Your Team, Serve Your Team
In order to maximize your time, you have to know your team (your direct reports) well. This does not necessarily translate to their favorite color or family history. Knowing your team is taking the time to understand the aspirations and motivations of each individual. This can save you valuable time in the future as you will be able to provide specific and proactive support.
Matching tasks and projects with an individual’s talents and gifts leads to greater self-motivation, which in turn reduces the pressure on you as a leader. This process takes time and can be achieved through one-on-ones, community outings, or team retreats.
Knowing your team will also help you discern how to come alongside them in their journey of development. Ken Blanchard has a great tool, Situational Leadership, that provides clarity around when an individual might need support, coaching, delegation, or direction.
In a store, everyone’s experience level can vary, especially as they shift into new roles. Understanding the best approach can positively impact the time spent in your one-on-ones.