One of the most important things you can do as a leader is to help your team manage their time better. You’ll get more and better results, and your team morale will go up – it’s a virtuous cycle.

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Set a good example

Arguably the most important thing you can do as a leader to help your team manage their time is to set a great example. Don’t answer email at 3:00 a.m., do use the tools and practices you’d like your team to use, and turn off notifications when you’re doing focused work.

Be clear (about the what and the when)

The clearer you can communicate what results you’re looking for and the delivery date, the more time you’ll save your team. Answer the question, “what does it look like when this project is done, and done well?”

Make sure you’re clear about timing for each stage of delivery, as well as dependencies on other projects or deliverables, and what kind of flexibility you have to move dates out (or in).

Get out of the way

Your job is not to do your team’s work, so create clear expectations and help the team understand how what they’re working on links to your overall vision, and then step back.

In almost all cases, your team will do a better job (and learn more while they’re at it) if you spend your time removing barriers to the team’s success rather than micro-managing their tasks. Oh, and micro-managing takes more time for you AND your team.

Protect “heads down” time

Your team needs time to get stuff done. Without interruptions. Allow them to schedule chunks of time where they’re not responding to phone calls and emails. And don’t interrupt them when they’re at it. You’ll see the payoff in their better results.

Don’t meet without a great reason to

Face it. We all spend a lot more time in meetings than we’d like. And some meetings aren’t even all that productive (shocking!).

While you won’t have control over many meetings your team attends, you can influence the ones you run. Simple things like having an agenda, taking notes, and keeping to the time allotted can help your meetings be time well-spent.

And, of course, if you don’t have anything pressing to cover, cancel the damned meeting!

Reward proactivity rather than diving catches

Some folks get a huge kick out of “diving catches,” where they get to swoop in at the last minute and save the day. These are your crisis junkies, and they can wreak havoc on time management for the rest of the team.

While some diving catches are unavoidable, rewarding – and celebrating – proactivity and great time management will give your team a better shot at bringing projects in on time with a minimum of thrash.

What’s made the biggest difference for you in helping your team manage their time? Tell us in the comments below!