It is alarming. Many Managing Directors spend less than 10% of their time on company leadership tasks.
Why is that so? Why do some Managing Directors spend so much time on administrative and functional activities, instead of focusing on leadership duties?
When managers are asked, three primary reasons crystallize:
- Lack of insight,
- Failure to delegate
- The problem that leadership tasks are for the most part important, but rarely urgent.
Lack of insight
Many Manning Directors, in particular from industrial environments, focus strictly on “facts and figures”. The only things that matter are those that can be measured. Company vision and purpose? Unimportant. From their point of view, anyone with a vision is best off by seeing a doctor. The only purpose of the company for these Managing Directors is also clear: To make a profit.
Importance of a vision
These Managing Directors have not yet realized how motivating a good vision can be, how important it is to put values put into practice, and that the ultimate purpose of a company lies in generating customer benefit.
Only when the Managing Director has communicated his vision and the resulting strategies and objectives, and has the employee’s buy-in, will everyone in his company pull in the same direction.
Only then will the Managing Director have independently working, motivated employees, and only then can he delegate functional, as well as managerial duties with confidence.
“Facts and Figures” – Managers
The “facts and figures” – Managing Director will not understand this. He does not place a priority on leadership tasks. That is also why he frequently overextends himself with micro-managing day-to-day business affairs, and laments the demotivation and would-be incompetence of his employees.
Failure to delegate
In their former professional life, some Managing Directors were recognized functional experts in their field. They frequently have difficulty rigorously delegating functional duties to their employees. The reasons mentioned for not delegating the work are usually:
“Nobody can do this work as well as I can.”
“By the time I have explained this to my employees, I will have completed this myself.”
Are you one of these? Think about it: Both rationales have grave consequences, since you will never have enough space for leadership tasks. It is probably true that your functional task will not be completed as quickly, and possibly also not as well, when it is first delegated. But you have to start delegating at some point.
By rule, functional tasks have no business being performed by a Managing Director. You must accept slower processing times and potential errors in the short term. Provide the necessary instructions and appropriate feedback, and you will be amazed how quickly your employees will learn.
Win in the mid-term
Over the mid-term, the transferred functional task will generally be performed with the same speed and accuracy as though you had done it. Sometimes even faster and better.
How to cope with special tasks
Of course, there will be Managing Directors who want to perform selected functional tasks themselves. These are functional assignments that they simply enjoy doing. Processing such assignments is associated with a high degree of personal satisfaction.
Think of your time as the bottleneck
To take on such activities from time to time should not be a problem per se. But since your time in the office is typically your bottleneck, you should refrain from completing such functional tasks. It is also demotivating to your employees if you are seen to cherry pick the most appealing functional tasks.
Urgency and importance
Leadership tasks are frequently important, but rarely urgent. But managerial tasks are typically urgent, but rarely truly important. Why is this so? Managerial tasks are almost always driven by outside influences and have a deadline, for instance the tax office may need documents, the participation in a trade show has to be decided, or a customer urgently needs a quotation. Leadership tasks on the other hand are generally self driven, and do not have a set deadline.
Is it urgent or important?
Many people have the tendency to complete work that is urgent, but not important, by themselves, instead of delegating this and delaying important issues that are not urgent.
When the day is done, many Managing Directors realize that they have yet again only spent time on urgent managerial tasks. In spite of good intentions, they again have not made time to complete the important leadership tasks.
How can you improve?
In my E-book I will help you with 7 useful tips. You will learn what you need to do to lead more and manage less.
Download your free copy of my E-book here:
Other articles that might be of interest for you:
- How to get staff motivation and employee commitment!
- Demotivation by schedule control
- How to get motivated employees