Recruiting is a huge job in itself, and the job of a billing manager is even more so. Not only are there individual sales targets you have to hit, which likely warrant full time dedication, but you’re also largely responsible for the team’s performance, as well as its wellbeing, development and morale. If only there were more hours in a day…
While we know the Law of Time would never give the green light to a ’24/7′ rebrand to ’27/7′ (although it does have a nice ring to it), there are ways to maximise the use of your time spent managing people, to claim some of your time back for yourself.
Lead by example
If you have sloppy work habits, members of your team will likely follow suit. You’ve got to lead by example and get the basics down, like:
- Keeping focussed: Take regular breaks throughout the day
- Switching off: Turn phone and emails off before bed / allow yourself time to rejuvenate and get some distance
- Getting hard-to-do tasks done: Don’t put the hard tasks off – tackle them head on, early in the say so you don’t waste brain space thinking about them all day
- Eating properly: Stay healthy, take meal breaks and give yourself some breakfast
- Exercising: This will help you stay alert throughout the day and feel healthier in general
- Being disciplined: Don’t let social media distract you – set goals throughout the day and don’t stop until their complete
You can read more about productivity tips here: 5 Time-Wasters Killing Your Productivity
Understand your team
The next part of trying to squeeze more hours out of the day starts with understanding the individuals in your team. Some people like to get on with things themselves – they thrive on making their own decisions and work very independently. These people can be easy to manage, not taking up much of your time. However, other people like to talk a lot throughout the day and be coached through tasks – whether they’re inexperienced and need to learn from you, or whether that’s just how they work best – in collaboration with others. These people can take a bit more time out of your day, especially if they KEEP asking you questions, interrupting your flow all day.
There’s probably a camp of people out there who’d say managers simply have to learn how to multitask better, as it’s their job. To some extent that’s true, however there ARE things you can do to make your life as a manger easier.
Shorter meetings & shorter email chains
This article outlines a somewhat extreme, but apparently effective approach to getting more time out of the day. This manager turns his internal emails off all day and requests people in his organisation to come speak with him if they need it. He also sets shorter meetings (15 minutes) so people have to get to the point quicker and less time is wasted sitting in meetings that aren’t going anywhere. He also sets rules on the amount of back and forth email chains. If there are more than 3 replies in the chain, he says it warrants a short meeting in order to get to the point quickly, cutting out the pointless and slow response time.
In this article, the author discusses how t deal with difficult employees. One of the hardest employee types to manage is the indecisive. People who take a long time to make decisions and go over the same ground several times, pulling everyone else in the team into the scenario for unnecessary support and confirmation. A great way to deal with this is setting deadlines where an employee cannot change what was decided after it has passed.
A skill gap or a will gap?
It’s also important to take time as a manger to understand where their team members’ weaknesses lie. In this article, there’s talk about there either being a gap in will or skill. If there is a skill gap causing the constant questions and dependancy, then it is relatively straightforward coaching and teaching that can take care of this. People need to be given the tools and mentoring opportunities to learn properly, which is a manager’s job. If, on the other hand, someone appears to lack the will to do things themselves and progress, this is a completely different matter and requires more serious attention.
In this article, there’s talk about making agreements with the people who work for you, in order to hold people accountable for their own work and efforts. If you set out a list of agreed action points, employees will know exactly what’s expected of them and how you like to work, which will allow them to constantly self-assess and action more things themselves, when possible.
At the end of the day, managing is a tough gig. But by leading by example, clearly setting expectations and taking the time to understand your team members’ motivations and preferred working style, you’ll be better equipped to help them help themselves, so you can continue on with your own work, while knowing their best interests are being looked after.