Busy managers are like busy mothers. They get it from the top (spouses, in-laws, teachers) and they get it from the bottom (kids). Just like time-strapped mothers, busy managers are ground zero for everybody’s problems, including supervisors, owners, employees and even customers. Think about it. No irate customer ever says to a surly employee, “I want to speak to your colleague!”
Moms Have All the Answers
Well, moms may not have all the answers, but they have all the answers to a busy manager’s problems. If busy managers want to stay focused and in control amid all their responsibilities, taking cues from busy moms is a good place to start.
Let Them Eat Cake
When the kids are inconsolable after a loss of a big game, moms know just what to do. Whip out the cake mix. Nothing makes a kid smile faster than a waft of chocolate cake baking in the oven.
Beleaguered managers trying to placate dissatisfied customers so they can get on with their day need to adopt the same strategy. Pull out the treats and lay on the icing. Everybody likes “free.” Simply commiserating with the customer’s trouble and quickly opening up the candy jar (of free products, services, etc.) will turn an unhappy customer into one willing to take the treat and run.
Teach Them to Fish
Even busy moms secretly love to be needed. The sweet sound of, “Honey, where’s my tie?” or “Mom, have you seen my hamster?” is enough to melt a mom’s heart. But she’s also smart enough to give her needy family enough tools so she can hide in the tub with a juicy novel when necessary. Show me a mom with a new bottle of bath bubbles and I’ll show you a kid with a new hamster cage.
Busy managers need to empower their staff to make decisions independently when the manager is not around or can’t be disturbed. Teaching decision-making skills to underlings not only frees up the manager’s time so they aren’t pestered by small nuisances, but it helps to bolster employees’ morale and sense of worth in the workplace. (This sense of worth, by the way, has been scientifically proven to enhance employee engagement in the workplace.) This is not delegation. This is empowerment on a deep and meaningful scale that can lead to higher productivity levels in the department for which the manager can take partial credit, along with their staff.