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3 Best Lessons I Learned From Managing Other People

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You value your time more when you have to manage other people. And I’m learning it only three years after I started talking about these topics.

Better late than never, right?

3 Lessons I Learned From Managing Other People

People management is not for everyone. But I have always wanted to try it. And now, I’m finally getting a chance to prove I’m good at it.

But unexpectedly, people management is challenging. It forces you to learn many things about your time-management habits too.

So here are 3 things I learned from my new position and how you can apply them to your time-management habits.

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1 – You walk at different speeds.

We are not the same. Usually, people specialize in what they like the most out of all their tasks and experiences. Therefore, some people will become faster at a few tasks, while others will excel in others.

But when you start working with people, you assume they will finish every task as fast as you would.

  • So if you don’t know your timings, you will fail at organizing the work because you will have no clue about what you are doing.
  • But if you know your timings, you will fail again because you will organize the work considering only your working speed.

The Two Choices You Could Take

In my short experience, I learned you can deal with this problem in two ways:

  • ask people how much it would take them to finish a specific task,
  • or improve your forecasting skills by measuring their timings yourself.

In the first case, they might specify a time slot that is too large. So you will have to ask if they can speed up the process and by how much.

But in the second case, you will already know how much it will take them to finish. So you can act preemptively by scheduling the work differently. Or, you can declare that it would take longer, but you need it faster. Then, you can ask them to try to optimize their time.

The first choice saves you time. But it gives you less power on your team because you don’t know exactly how many resources you can use. The second choice is challenging because you must track all your teams. But it gives you an advantage in organizing the work.

The Lesson

Every person has their speed which depends on preferences, mood, stress, and many other things. So, don’t try to rush your activities only because people can finish them in less time. And use the same approach even with your collaborators.

2 – You have different needs.

I need very few things to start working on a task. At worst, I will adjust part of the work to make it better and more compliant. But if I can, I like to be as efficient as possible.

Yet, some of my colleagues need more assurances. And before starting to work, they must be sure the task they are working on is completely free of doubts. But in software development, this is often impossible.

Sometimes, their approach is better because they never have to deal with failure or work more to fix any variations the client requests. But sometimes you can’t be sure about everything. And taking action as soon as possible is better than doing nothing.

The Lesson

You must understand what you need to finish your work as efficiently as possible. You might consider the environmentgoals, preparatory steps, and mood. And when you know what you need, you must also find out how to obtain it.

All those factors impact your time management skills. And they will influence your speed and schedule if you don’t consider them.

3 – There is a moment for everything.

In my youth, I struggled to make good friends. So, I always wanted to be cordial and fun with everyone. But you can’t always be friendly at work – there are moments for joking, and then there is seriousness.

My boss knew about this tendency of mine. So when he gave me the position, he warned me. He told me I would have to be strict sometimes – that was my main challenge. And he was right.

Sometimes, I struggle to be strict. So, I schedule a daily meeting in the morning where everyone updates me on their tasks. I want to know if they are getting ahead and if there are any problems. So I can push the levers if they need my help. But I also expect them to work independently.

I am using this meeting as a training room to be more authoritative. So, I force myself to be strict. And I tell people they are finishing their time if I see them procrastinating. 

The Lesson

You will reach your goals only when you will take them seriously. And if you don’t, you are groping in the dark.

So fix a time slot for updating yourself on your goals and their progress. The review will keep you in control, and you will face challenges before they become giants.

Final Thoughts

Apply the three lessons of time management in your life:

1 – Don’t rush your tasks. Give yourself the time you need to finish them.

2 – Make a list of what you need to work on each task at your best.

3 – Build a routine of reviewing your goals to keep them under control.

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Original Publication: 3 Best Lessons I Learned From Managing Other People.