Saving time when dealing with others

By Brian Tracy

Your interactions with others consume as much time, if not more, than any other part of your day. Even technical workers spend up to 75 percent of their time communicating with coworkers. You can greatly increase the efficiency of your interactions by improving the quality of your communications.

Common Misunderstandings
A major waste of time is caused by misunderstandings between people about roles, goals, and responsibilities. People do not know what they are expected to do, how to do it, and by what time.

Misunderstandings lead to inefficiencies, anger, frustration, and unhappiness. It often requires an enormous amount of time to clear up a misunderstanding and get matters back to normal.

Unclear Priorities
Misunderstandings about priorities often lead to your working at the wrong job, at the wrong time, for the wrong reason, and perhaps aiming at the wrong level of quality. Or the problem may be that you are working for the wrong person.

The single most important cause of positive feelings and high levels of motivation in work is defined as “knowing exactly what is expected.” On the other hand, the number-one complaint, or demotivator, of employees is to “not know what is expected.”

In order to perform at your best, you need absolute clarity about your job and what you are expected to do.

Poor Delegation
Poor delegation to others, or from others, leads to mistakes and frustration on the part of both the boss and the employee. It is a major time waster. Poor delegation causes even the most sincere talented people to do poor work or the wrong jobs. Therefore, they end up feeling frustrated and unhappy.

Unclear Lines of Authority
Unclear lines of authority and responsibility lead to time wastage. People do not know who is supposed to do what job, when is it be done, and to what standard of quality. People are left to wonder, who is supposed to report to whom? Who’s in charge? Who’s the boss?

Incomplete Information
Another major time waster in business is poor or incomplete information, which leads to erroneous assumptions and conclusions. It is amazing how often people jump to conclusions or make false assumptions on the basis of wrong information.

The very best managers take the time to ask questions, and they listen carefully to the answers before they make a decision. If there is a key piece of information that suggests a problem or difficulty, they double-check on this piece of information to make sure that it is accurate.

Aimless or Too Frequent Meetings
Too many meetings, or aimless meetings that proceed without an agenda, direction, or closure, are an enormous waste of time at work. These are meetings that start and stop without any particular resolution. No problems are solved, no decisions are made, and no responsibilities are assigned. No deadlines are agreed upon for action.

Lack of Clarity Concerning One’s Job
People need to know everything that is happening in the company that affects their particular jobs. The very best companies are open and honest with all employees concerning those matters affecting the health of the company.

Employees need to know what is going on and how their jobs fit into the big picture. When employees are unclear or unsure, an enormous amount of time is lost as the result of conversations, discussions, and gossip, which lead to ineffective work behaviors and poor productivity.

Action Exercise
Be crystal-clear in explaining to others exactly what is to be done, and to what standard of performance, and by what date.