10 ways leaders can save 1.5 days every week

How to achieve a ROI of 1.5 days a week by being a better leader

“I would be a much better leader if I had more time!”  Ever said that before?  Here we look at shifting perspective so that you have lots more time by focussing on being a better leader.

After a recent three-day workshop with a group of First Line Managers, we agreed to park the time issue until the end of the workshop.  Once they had completed their ‘back to work action plans and commitments’, we asked them to estimate the amount of time these actions will save them each week – the average was a staggering 1.5 days!

Here are our top 10 tips on how to achieve this:

  1. Agree SMART goals whenever you are discussing work – that way you can avoid disappointment and wasted time when you finally realise that without this, expectations are misaligned and you have to start again.

SMART = Specific; Measurable: Achievable; Relevant; Time-bound

  1. Remember that your team are more capable than you think they are – raise the bar and they will meet it.
  2. Drop the “I’ll roll my sleeves up and join in with them” mantra. Let your team get on with what they do best, stop interfering and do your own job instead.
  3. Let stronger team members deputise for you at appropriate meetings; it will help them learn and build their profile.
  4. Manage poor performance early and firmly for the benefit of the person concerned and the rest of your team – eventually all will appreciate this.
  5. Pay attention to this grid – ask yourself where are the individual members of your team and manage them ALL to get and keep them in the high performing zone.


  1. Give regular, good quality, positive and developmental feedback – you will get more of the good stuff and people can learn and grow in the developmental areas. NB Remember good feedback enables me to take action – “great job” is fluffy and meaningless.
  2. Manage up – part of your job is to manage your boss so that your team have the best possible chance of focussing on and delivering what matters most without unnecessary distractions.
  3. We know that career development conversations are key in engaging staff and encouraging greater contribution. Ensure you equip your team to fully participate in these conversations – share the training you may have had so that they draft their own objectives, development goals and longer-term career plans.
  4. Now you have more time – use it wisely – what are the more strategic aspects of your role that you keep deferring. Be honest, do you like these as much as your team do?  Most people who meddle by doing the jobs of their team members do so because

PS If you do any/some/most of the above – don’t beat yourself up – you are certainly not alone.  Just work on changing it!

Susan Binnersley