3 Tips for Managers on dealing with pressure
Managing a business unit charged with important work and expectations of delivering results is stressful by it’s very nature. A manager job is to get work done through others. The company is constantly under market pressure to grow, deliver profits and out pace the competition. It is in the nature of business.
In the sum total rush of the day-to day challenges, manager become “pressurized” by the events, people, deadlines and expectations.
So, what can managers do to ease the pressure? There are three steps that if taken regularly, will let some of the work pressure out of the balloon before it bursts.
Take stock of all activities and assignments. No matter how a managers thinks things are organized, the inflow can become like barnacles on the ship, slowly growing and weighing the ship down. The manager may have little or know realization of what’s occurring with the pile up of work activities until the ship almost comes to a stop. Take one hour and simply list every activity underway, what the expected due dates are for each, the status for each and who is working on each.
- Use the simple A, B, C & 1, 2, 3 Method to assign a “weighted importance” to each item. A = Deadline within 1 week, B = Deadline with in 1 month and C being a Deadline greater than 1 month. Next assign a numerical factor, 1 = Utmost Importance/critical to the business units success, 2 = Important and needed for the business and 3 = Some or little immediate value to the business.
- Now list all the people assigned and working on each item, including the manager. Add the estimated % of each person’s time that is devoted to each item they are working on for you list. This does a couple of important things, it shows the dispersion of people work time over all activities and any over-laps where you may have too many people on a given item.
How to set priorities
Now re-order you list of activities in the following order of priority: A-1, A-2, B-1, B-2, A-3, B-3, C-1, C-2, C-3. This gives the manager the right order of merit and a total picture on priorities. Here are the things to look at:
- First, take a look at where the manager is spending time. Make sure that they are paying the most attention to A1, A2 & B1. Ask “is that where my time is spent?“ If not, change your time allocation . How are your employees assigned? Do you have the right number of people and the right amount of their time allocated to A1, A2, B1 and B2? If not, make adjustments.
- Which employee is being over-utilized? Which Employees are underutilized? People are the most important resource. What is your resource allocation?
- Are any A3, B3, C1, C2 or C3 activities receiving too much time and attention? If so, pull people off and re-assign them.
This over-all technique is a matter of triangulating the criticality of the managers work activity across Importance and across time lines. This may seem like a fairly simple process, and it is, but the pay-offs from this review process are many. The manager gets a revised and accurate allocation of their resources.The manager can re-set where they are spending their time in order to put their time and talent against the most important work demands. People will feel that the managers has a strong handle on all activities and is aware of where to allocate resources and relieve pressure. Conflicting priorities can be pinpointed and re-aligned to meet the manager’s new work plan.
The most important outcome for the manager is to relieve the pressure and ease the intensity of their team’s work load by proper focus on what is most important.
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