Managing employees is one of the biggest gripes among business owners, but one leader says it can be just as time-wasting for your workforce as for yourself.
“I don't do HR well, but I've had to spend a lot of time with people and managing people, managing teams, and managing their issues. I worked out, when I was at an advertising agency actually in this building, that about 80 per cent of my time at that point was managing people and about 20 per cent of my time was on the work,” Sascha Moore of Create Design & Marketing said on the My Business Podcast.
“For me to feel fulfilled and driven and optimistic, I need to be doing that 100 per cent of the time.”
Ms Moore said the “challenge” was to develop a culture and a working process that enabled her to support her team’s strengths, but still allowed her to work on her own strengths.
“To me, a lot of that was autonomy and independence. I want to be around people who are smart, who are really switched on, who can produce high-quality work but are also highly independent,” she said.
“So from the outset, I said to the team, ‘Look, where I want you to work is wherever you want to be. When I want you to work is whenever that suits you. How I'm going to plug in to you is to give you advice and direction and be a sounding board at critical points. I'm not going to be here to hold your hand,’ because what that does is disempower them and stifles the creative or strategic process.”
Not sorting out this major time constraint – or indeed any constraint that impacts productivity and leads to extended working hours – can lead to serious problems for you as a leader as well as the business, with burnout among SME leaders being a frightening eventuality.
“Earlier on in this year, things were pretty intense and I did have to really say to myself, ‘I have to actually balance this properly because I can easily work on every second of every day’, admitted Lauren Chang Sommer of Moi Moi Fine Jewellery.
The mother of two, who operates separate retail and wholesale businesses as well as attending industry trade fairs and speaking as a product expert at international events, said managing her time is a delicate balance, but that not doing so puts everything at risk.
“I did make a decision to really switch off on my days off and that actually helps me to be more productive. If I'm constantly working all the time, I start to get a little bit intense. I guess a little bit of [anxious], and maybe, just not so focused,” she said.
“I have actually set a time to go to sleep at night because otherwise I can just keep working.”
Hear more insights from Sascha and Lauren, as well as the lessons other business owners have learnt through trial and error, on the My Business Podcast below:
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.