Effective managers overcome three challenges. They plug the time gap, the needs gap and the data gap.
To eliminate the time gap when you’re “too busy” for new or important assignments, start with clear communication. Delegate with precision and give specific deadlines. Let others know which priorities matter most and how to budget time accordingly. Snuff out time-wasting activities (such as overblown “crises”) as soon as they arise.
To plug the needs gap when your needs clash with what your staffers most value, seek areas of overlap where your interests align with your employees’. When both parties agree on broad principles, you establish a strong basis for collaboration.
The data gap can lead to faulty decisions. If you lack the information to make sound judgments, everything else crumbles. In the absence of accurate information, you might make rash personnel moves or hand off a problem that you’re better off tackling yourself.
As a precaution, collect as much information as possible before taking action. Confirm pertinent facts and assumptions that affect your thinking. Invite input from employees so that you gain a fuller, more nuanced understanding of the issue.
Beware of letting these gaps serve as excuses. At some point, you’ll need to make decisions without all the information you’d like. You’ll have to race through your priority list when squeezed for time. And you’ll find that your needs don’t mesh with your employees. Prepare to plow forward despite adverse conditions.