Managing is not a full-time job!

If your job is designed well you should only spend a proportion of your time on the JFK_2008management bit (planning, organising, leading and controlling).  Your time needs to be allocated between the management bit and the personal contribution you make to helping your organisation achieve its goals and core purpose.  You probably don’t want to be just a coordinator; you want to be, and need to be, a contributor too whether you are in sales and marketing, production, operations or a staff function.

This all begs a question.  How much time should you spend on the management bit?  I’ve recently been working with some small business owners and we’ve had deep conversations about this very issue especially as they have ambitious plans for growth and this balance between managing and contributing probably needs to shift as growth happens.  How do you decide about how much time to spend on the managing element of your role?

  • How many people report to you?  The smaller the number the smaller amount of managing you need to do;
  • If your strategy is clear and working there will be less need for planning and perhaps it can be done every six months or so or just make up a lesser part of what you do;
  • If conditions in your market/sector/industry are relatively stable that might mean that contributing personally rather than managing is a bigger part of what you do;
  • If you’re in a larger organisation the number of levels of management below you and the amount of complexity in the delivery of value to customers might indicate managing could be a larger part of your role;
  • If there is a crisis where there is a need to re-plan, reorganise, lead in a different direction and introduce new controls – it’s highly probable that the managing element will be substantial;
  • You might start by working out how much time you spend already of managing versus contributing then you can judge whether an adjustment is required.

Get the balance right and you’ll probably get better results overall.

If the management bit is overlooked or underplayed you will only get chaos, low staff morale, inefficiencies and poor results.

David Shaw – everyone deserves good management

I raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK – a donation at would be most appreciated

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