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How do you allocate your time spent with your direct reports?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from more than 200,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How do you allocate your time spent with your direct reports?

  • I spend most of my time with my high performers. 17%
  • I spend an equal amount of time with everyone. 62%
  • I spend most of my time with my low performers. 22%

Spend time where it’s needed. While it may seem “fair” to give everyone on your team the same amount of your time, you’re doing them (and yourself) a disservice. Your high performers likely need less of your time. By giving them more than they need, you’re wasting their time – and yours. You’re also not being fair to low performers who need more of your time but aren’t getting it. While it’s easy to just schedule everyone for an hour a week (or whatever the timeframe is), be more deliberate about giving people the time they actually need. In total, you might even end up spending less time with them but that frees you up to do other things and it helps them be more productive because they’re not wasting time sitting with you when they could be getting more work done. In some cases, you’ll give them more time than you currently are and that’s good too because then they’re getting the attention they really need. Don’t be lazy with your time allocation. It’s the most precious resource you (and they) have. Treat it accordingly.


Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, which includes TITAN -- the firm’s e-learning platform. Previously, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a West Point graduate and author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."