How deciding on Horrid Henry or Sonic X could help you manage your time…

Today around 10:45am my 2 children had finished doing some home school tasks and were coming together for a break.  They generally put the tv on for 20 mins with a couple of biscuits leaving me to get some valuable work done on my business.  

The screaming and tantrums towards one another made me want to go back, but I stood my ground albeit behind the closed door ready to go in if needed.  

Today, however, they couldn’t decide on what to watch, my 4-year-old wanted Horrid Henry and my 8-year-old wanted Sonic X.  The fireworks began and I walked into the room and told them no tv if you can’t decide.  To that, I became the common enemy and got the full force of both children.  I walked out and told them to sort it out.  

After a couple of minutes, the voices went lower and I heard talking.  When I enquired what was happening they told me they have decided to take it in turns to decide, Sonic X today, Horrid Henry tomorrow and would keep swapping.  They even wrote the plan down.

Apart from being super proud of them, it made me think about how many times managers or team leaders get involved when our teams/individuals need to be left to sort it out for themselves.  They learnt far more from this experience than if I told them what to watch or banned the tv completely.

My children tend to automatically come to me “Muuuuuuumeeeeeeee” (how does that word get quite so long!!) when there is a problem and I want to teach them they can try to solve the problem themselves.

As a manager with a team of people, time often gets taken up with other people’s problems.  You often feel that you need to be there for everyone, picking up the pieces or finishing things off for deadlines.  You are the ‘go-to’ person to sort things out when they go wrong and all this on top of your actual workload.  Trying to fit this all in can lead to increased stress and reduced productivity on your behalf but also a culture of learnt helplessness for your employees.  

How much time could you claw back in your days if you didn’t get involved so quickly?  Letting your teams find solutions for themselves, learning from mistakes enables them and empowers them to grow, be creative and problem-solve for themselves.

So next time a decision needs to be made between Horrid Henry and Sonic X trust they can do it for themselves ;0

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