Building Trust as a New Supervisor

Just putting it out there, perhaps, you’re being just a little bit too available for people, and that is what’s causing you stress and making it difficult for you to manage your time. I know a lot of us who consider ourselves to be professional, to be proficient, efficient, and good at what we do. We really pride ourselves on being helpful. The last thing we want to do is to let anybody down or not be available for somebody.

For many people, particularly those that have worked in roles where they are serving others as executive assistants, PAs, virtual assistants, or anyone that is serving somebody else to assist them to be more productive and more efficient, they feel an overwhelming responsibility to be helpful and to be available. Yet it means that they can be less effective if they are constantly available to other people.

Here’s some tips on some things that you can do to be more productive by not being so available.

  • Consider how you can be more assertive

Now being assertive does not mean that you are aggressive, nor does it mean you are confrontational. This does not mean that you are negative, however, being assertive is about being able to push back in a way that’s professional.

It’s how you can say no to things without actually saying no. How you can set boundaries within your capabilities and limitations without constantly saying yes or coming unstuck.  It’s about having the language to assert your wants and needs in order for you to do the best you can and work effectively. If you are constantly available, then you are enabling that culture, and that’s disruptive. Research has shown that we become three times less effective by multitasking.

This is why texting while driving is worse than drunk driving. The more we have to switch our brains on and off, we take three times as long to complete a task. So don’t create a culture of being constantly available.

  • Turn off notifications

When I’m working with people to be more time efficient, I teach them a strategy on how to save time with their emails. Now constantly checking your emails, and going through them can eat away up to two hours a day of valuable time, just by continually going back and forth in your emails or being available in your emails.

Now two hours a day might not sound like much, yet that equates to 12 weeks a year. So turn off those little alerts that tell you when an email comes in.

I’ve had Executive Assistants say to me “I’ll know if my boss sends me an email, I have to see it straight away.” But your boss is not paying you to sit there and monitor your emails, that is not your job. Your job is to actually do the work, not to monitor emails, look out and watch for every email that comes in.

So if you’ve got a solid system of revisiting your emails periodically throughout the day, the rest of the time you are doing the work at hand and you’ll be far more effective.

Sometimes you need to switch off the phone. Sometimes you need to not look at those emails in order for you to be more efficient. Don’t feed into that culture of constantly being available and being at everybody’s beck and call, give people timeframes, for when they will hear back from you. Let people know that you’ll come back to them by the end of the day, by the end of the week within two weeks, whatever it is, that’s realistic for you.

The best thing to do is to under promise and over deliver. For example, tell people you’ll get back to them by early next week and get back to them by the end of this week instead. You’ll look like a superstar.

  • Use simple tools that enable you to switch off when you’re not available

This can be things like setting your phone straight to the message bank or using autoresponders on your emails. You can also simply put your headphones in at work, which tells people you’re concentrating and listening and not taking in everything that’s going on around you.

Use simple tools to let people know you’re not available at the moment. I’d love to hear back from you about how you make your selfless available without cutting off people entirely in order to be more efficient and productive.

What tips, tools, and advice could you give somebody in this situation? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please do comment below.

P.S. If you want to discover more time saving tips, get your FREE book below!

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About the Author

Barbara Clifford - The Time Tamer
Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a co-founder of The Hinwood Institute. She is the lead trainer and coach in Time Management. She is a recognized leader in Stress Management. An experienced coach, speaker, columnist and facilitator, Barbara’s work with The Hinwood Institute assists people to unclutter mess, make order from chaos, and swap the shackles of overwhelming for freedom. Barbara’s clients move from the relentless hamster wheel to waking inspired, motivated, making decisions with purpose and achieving peak performance. She lives in the desert of Alice Springs, Australia working with people around the country.

Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships