Hey there, leaders! Grab a seat and let’s have a chat about something that’s been on my mind lately: time management in leadership. It’s one of those things that we often talk about but don’t always really dive into. Well, today, inspired by a nugget of wisdom I picked up on the HBR IdeaCast podcast, I want to explore a quote that really struck a chord with me: “Leaders are trustees of other people’s time,” by the brilliant Huggy Rao.

What does it mean to me to be a trustee of other people’s time? Essentially, it’s about recognizing that as leaders, we’re not just responsible for managing tasks and projects; we’re also entrusted with the invaluable resource of our team’s time. It’s a pretty big deal when you think about it. Every decision we make, every meeting we schedule, every directive we give – it all impacts how our team’s time is spent.

Being a time trustee goes beyond just keeping tabs on the clock. It’s about creating an environment where time is valued, respected, and used wisely. It means empowering our team members to take ownership of their schedules, while also providing the support and guidance they need to prioritize effectively. It’s about fostering a culture of punctuality, accountability, and productivity, where everyone understands the importance of making every moment count.

And let’s not forget about the human side of time management. As leaders, we need to be mindful of our team’s well-being and work-life balance. That means being open to flexible schedules, embracing remote work options, and encouraging our team members to take breaks and recharge when needed. Because let’s face it – burnt-out team members aren’t exactly a recipe for success.

Onto the next big question - how do we put all of this into practice? Well, it starts with leading by example. We need to show our team that we value their time by being mindful of our own time management and respecting theirs. It means setting clear expectations, communicating effectively, and being proactive about addressing any issues that arise. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect at this. I’ve learned that I could create some better time management habits and hope to make some changes that will help with that.

To continue, being a time trustee isn’t just about managing schedules and deadlines; it’s about cultivating a deep sense of trust and respect within our team. When our team members understand that we genuinely care about their well-being and success, it creates a powerful bond that transcends mere professional relationships.

This level of trust is built on a foundation of mutual respect and empathy. It’s about truly listening to our team members, understanding their needs and challenges, and actively supporting them in achieving their goals. When our team members know that we’re invested in their growth and development, they’re more likely to be engaged, motivated, and committed to the team’s collective success.

But building trust isn’t a one-way street. It requires authenticity, transparency, and integrity on our part as leaders. We need to lead by example, demonstrating through our actions that we prioritize the well-being and success of our team members above all else. This means being open and honest in our communications, admitting when we make mistakes, and always acting in the best interests of the team.

So, let’s embrace our role as trustees of other people’s time and commit to making every moment count. Together, we can create a culture of productivity, positivity, and purpose that not only benefits our team but our respective organizations as a whole.