How a Team Leader Secures Downtime – Trivial Words Can End Up Attracting More Work

Once you reach the position of team leader, you become extremely busy. As you get caught up in the flow of things, you find yourself getting swamped with more work, unable to get off work on time, and end up working through the weekend.

This in turn wears your body down and exhausts your mental health. How can you get a hold of some downtime in the midst of constantly getting battered by work?

There’s something that you should always think twice about before saying once you’re in a team leader position. That thing is promising team members that “I’ll do Y task by X time” during meetings. Team members will ask,

“How’s Y coming along?”

If you have an N number of team members, you’re going to hear this same thing an N number of times. You were assigned the team leader position to manage your team members, but you end up being the one getting managed. Likewise, your direct supervisor and/or customer will ask,

“How’s that Z task that we talked about last time coming along?”

And now you’re sandwiched in between your supervisor/client and your team members.

There’s also the possibility that your team members may leave the task to you until you complete it by yourself. Team leaders are bound to constantly get assigned tasks from above.

At the very least, team leaders should be extremely prudent when volunteering to take on a task during meetings with team members.

More often than not, team leaders put a lot more faith in their own abilities over their team members’. This in turn leads to overzealous promises being made.

When a team member does not keep their promise made to a team leader, it becomes “insubordination” in terms of their position. But this does not hold true the other way around. Apart from having to deal with complaints, team leaders don’t face any repercussions when they don’t follow through with their promises. This leads to a series of broken promises, ultimately putting the whole system at risk.

That’s why as team leader, it’s recommended that you assign most post-meeting tasks to your team members.

As it goes with many things, the amount of delegation will differ based on your position within the company, as well as the number/capabilities of your team members. There are, without a doubt, tasks that you just need to do yourself.

But it’s recommended that you entrust smaller tasks to your team members as much as possible while focusing on making sound decisions on important matters.

Another important detail you should pay attention to is keeping track of the promises that you made with your team members, whether those promises were fulfilled, and if not, if they’re in the process of getting to completion.

If all you do is delegate with zero follow-up, team-members will face no repercussions for not completing their assigned tasks.

Then they’ll unconsciously think that this person usually never remembers what they assigned me and end up even less inclined to finish their work.

I personally utilize kanban boards to keep track of the progress on tasks. (A more detailed guide on this to come later.)

I’ve created a “waiting for” space where I record the task and due dates assigned to different individuals. I constantly look over the board to check the status on things and move it over to the “Complete” space when finished.

I always leave a comment on tasks that go over the deadline with no further explanation.

Perhaps it may be a better idea to change up your way of conducting your business before complaining about your workload.

* Today’s blog content incorporated parts of a book titled “Monkey Business”. I recommend this book for anyone who’s interested in today’s content.

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