Are You Sufficiently Valuing the Time of Those Around You?

In a post today on the Harvard Business Review blog, Marshall Goldsmith makes this very important point:

“People have less time today, which means the value of that time has increased. Leaders who waste their workers’ time are not looked upon favorably.”

I’d simply add that this applies to co-workers as well. If you make an effort to be sure that you’re using your portion of the meeting time and presentation time well, your colleagues and staff will notice and appreciate it.

The challenge, of course, is asking ourselves which details are truly relevant to the situation at hand. We’d love it if others were interested in the full back story and all of the supporting reasons for our decisions.

But in practice, we get antsy and impatient when others share more information than we need. We need to get in the habit of remembering this when we’re doing the sharing.

What can you do to make sure you aren’t eating away at others’ time and patience when you have information to share?

4 thoughts on “Are You Sufficiently Valuing the Time of Those Around You?”

  1. AaronB

    I often write down a few notes before a conversation. Not only does this help me stay on track, but helps me remember everything I want to discuss.

    When I’m talking to somebody in person, I pay attention to the person’s body language and responses to determine how the conversation is going.

  2. paulkrueger

    I agree with Aaron regarding reading body language. It’s a good cue that you may be straying off relevant topic.

    However, I’d like to suggest that this issue may become a real challenge for leaders in the future. Leaders also need to develop a connection to staff. It may be difficult to connect with staff if you run quick, only to the point, no nonesense meetings. Since everything is faster and instant, that is what everyone expects. But, people who are too impatient with others may miss out on important relationship building opportunities as a result.

  3. nicolet

    Both good points. I would also like to add that I think it is situational, as well as audience driven. For instance, you may have a supervisor or co-worker who needs more details from you to make a decision (or just thrives on details). Until you figure out what the peson to whom you’re speaking desires (sometimes asking directly is the easiest), it is definitely good to let body language dictate the flow of your message (e.g., wrap it up if the person is looking at the clock/watch or seems impatient).

  4. Noel Rasor

    The sensitivity-to-body-language thing is huge, isn’t it? It’s amazing how much information is there if we remember that communicating is about receiving others’ information and feedback in addition to sharing ours. But the point about about just asking what your colleagues or those who report to you need is also a great one–“I’m getting the idea that you prefer communications that get to the point. Is that accurate?”

    I love what Paul highlights, too, here. It’s that balance thing! Don’t waste others’ time, but make sure we’re not all missing the relationship-development in the interest of being efficient.

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