Diminishing misunderstandings and increasing compassion can be simple if you add self-awareness as a concrete skill. Once when I was leading a program called “Understanding Your Approach to Time Management,” a Certified Public Account participant named Tom shared a fascinating insight into what drove his business partner and him to break up their profitable accounting firm.
It seems that Tom was the type who was spontaneous, flexible, easy-going and reactive. Rather than writing down his schedule he kept it in his head. If a client called and asked him to play golf, he dropped what he was doing and went. “I knew I would get the piles of work done soon,” Tom said.
Tom’s ex-partner preferred a decisive, self-regimented, “just do it now” approach. Using the schedule he kept in his Palm Pilot as his daily guide, he followed the philosophy “work first, and if there’s time left, play.”
The partners’ perceptions of how their firm “should” be run were always colliding — as were their approaches to delegating work to employees and completing client projects. The eventual breakdown was bitter. No one could understand how two high-ability professionals could allow their successful business to shatter. Tom eventually recognized the problem: Their approaches to time management were worlds apart.
In my years of business consulting, I have observed that most employees are competent and adept at their jobs, and are essentially nice people. Yet, I have witnessed hundreds of folks be judgmental, angry, intolerable, and sabotage a team member, colleague or boss who misconstrued how they prioritized and executed their work schedule. As the misinterpretations escalated, so was the direct correlation between precious time being lost and productivity slowing. At this moment in time, everyone loses.
The “real-skill” applications here are simple: First, you need to recognize that time management is really self-management (or put another way: Don’t manage time; manage yourself). Second, you need to develop the following self-awareness tools to help you relate to others’ time-management styles. Join me to read the next blog posting to learn what time management preference applies best to you!
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Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert. She is an internationally speaker and author of COURAGE, STUCK and FACE IT!, trainer and courage coach.
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