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5 Tips for Working with an Employee Who Struggles with Time Management

  • Publish Date: Posted almost 2 years ago
  • Author: Taylor Varco

Do you find yourself continually frustrated with an employee who cannot make a deadline, always requests more time, or asks questions right before the project should be completed? This inefficient cycle affects the whole office and negatively impacts money, time, and your reputation. 

How can you work with the employee to create a better system that is beneficial for both you and the employee? 

5 Tips to Help an Employee with Time Management

Your first reaction might be to make a list of all the reasons why you should fire the employee or pass them off to another manager. While this may solve your issue, employee turnover will also cost the company time and money. One strength of a great manager is working with employees to find solutions to their shortcomings. 

Here’s where you can start: 

  1. Take Accountability for Your Contribution: Before berating the employee for their shortcomings, take a moment to consider your part. Do you assign last-minute tasks with vague instructions and limited availability to answer questions? Work through your strong emotions by pinpointing what you can do to help the situation. 

  2. Ask for Feedback on How You Can Help: Once you’ve come up with possibilities of how your manager style may contribute to poor time management on the employee’s part, you are ready to hear from the employee. Welcome any feedback by asking how you can help to promote meeting deadlines. They may suggest more lead time, more flexibility with hours, or open office hours where they know they can always reach you. 

  3. Show Your Investment in Their Success: Once you have heard their request for change on your part, put in the effort to implement the changes. Make it evident that you listened to their words and respect what they are asking. Point out that since they made a specific suggestion, you are happy to implement it into the new workflow. 

  4. Praise the Employee When They Improve: Once the employee sees your investment in your success, they will work harder to make positive changes. Provide simple tips and give positive feedback when you see improvement, no matter how small. The positive reinforcement will breed the motivation to meet deadlines and manage their time better. 

  5. Set Up a Mentoring Program: Sometimes, you may not get honest answers from your employee. For example, if they admit that their home life is too distracting, they may fear that you will remove the opportunity to work from home. Instead of asking them to confess weaknesses to you, set them up with a mentor who is not their manager. Give them a chance to ask for advice and learn from a peer about time management skills. 

Unfortunately, there is not a cookie-cutter ideal employee that fits your personality and work ethic. Nevertheless, you have the opportunity to mold your employees into successful, efficient workers. So take on the challenge to work with your employees, and you will feel the rewards in more ways than one.