Is Your Boss Wasting Your Time?

Almost everyone knows the importance of not wasting time while on the job. Getting your assigned tasks done and on time is a necessary part of work life. But what if it’s your boss who is the one who is wasting your precious time?

An article appearing in the Wall Street Journal by Robert I. Sutton states, most bosses don’t mean to waste their employee’s time, it’s just that some bosses have a knack for making extra work for their subordinates without even realizing that they’re doing it.

Something as minor as making an offhand comment can be interpreted by an employee as being a direct order, or the act of calling impromptu meetings can keep workers from completing tasks just so that they can please the boss. Workers are anxious to please and will often drop what they are doing to make sure that the boss’ needs are taken care of.

If you have a boss that seems to have a penchant for wasting your valuable time on the job, the Essential Business blog has a few suggestions on how to clarify what tasks are priorities and which may be less so.

  • Pay attention to your supervisor’s work rhythm. If they take phone calls during meetings for example, it might be a good idea to bring some of your work with you so that you can work on these items during the delay so that you are getting some of done during such interruptions.
  • Ask for a time to meet with your boss to clarify which tasks have priority. Be as specific as possible for project milestones and timeframes. It might be helpful to put them in writing. Any alterations can be written down on paper so that both of you have a clear idea of goals and what needs to happen in order to meet them.
  • Put together a revised action plan with your boss and ask for any additional feedback. When working on a project or set of projects you might say something like, “This is how I plan to approach this. What do you think?” You may have to do this a few times before the plan is finalized.

While that may seem like a lot of effort on your part, most bosses will appreciate such attention to detail.  They may also come to realize that your commitment to the job and the goals of the team is important and will end up wasting less of your time.