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Project Management Tips : Managing Time-wasting Bosses

Some bosses unknowingly create time-wasting impediments for their direct reports which usually include:

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  • Unclear goals. If you and your boss don’t have the same expectations about your goals, you may end up producing disappointing results. Meet with your supervisor regularly to agree on your goals, ensure they support the organization’s strategy, and assign deadlines.
  • Confusing instructions. Supervisors sometimes have specific preferences for how they want something done, but don’t communicate those preferences clearly. When this happens, their employees end up wasting time redoing work.

So, when your manager asks you to handle a project:

  1. Draft a preliminary plan for how you intend to approach the task.
  2. Review the plan with your boss and incorporate her feedback.
  3. Have her review the plan again until you have her approval.

If you use this process consistently, your boss will eventually realize she can save time by being more specific when he / she assigns the work.

  • Time-consuming approvals. Some supervisors need to approve everything before letting their employees take the next steps in completing a task. Not surprisingly, these bosses often can’t respond in a timely fashion to the many decisions they’d like to make. Tasks get held up, and initiatives grind to a halt.

To help expedite delayed tasks:

  1. Assess how the approval process has impeded productivity.
  2. Meet with your boss to discuss your findings and to offer possible solutions. By communicating the problem and pointing out its costs, you may be able to persuade him to relinquish some control.
  3. Develop remedies that your boss can live with. For instance, identify tasks that can proceed without management approval. Or urge him to delegate approval authority to you or someone else for less-critical tasks.

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