MRO Magazine

A to-do list for leaders

If you're like most managers and supervisors, you have a lengthy "to-do" list. It's probably packed with meetings, tasks, projects, deadlines and opportunities. But your most important to-do list as a leader at work might be in your head; that's t...


December 1, 2003
By Richard G. Ensman, Jr.

If you’re like most managers and supervisors, you have a lengthy “to-do” list. It’s probably packed with meetings, tasks, projects, deadlines and opportunities. But your most important to-do list as a leader at work might be in your head; that’s the list covering your high-priority leadership responsibilities — delegating, coaching, communicating, affirming, inspiring … and more.

So sit back for a few moments and ponder your leadership to-do list for the week ahead. It might look something like this.

Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Review your written annual and monthly goals. Assess the progress you made toward those goals last week, and plan the steps that will move you toward great results in the week ahead.

Monday, 10:00 a.m. Spend a few moments with one of your best people. Affirm the great work he’s been doing. Ask him to describe the special value-added projects he’d like to pursue in the months ahead.

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Monday, 1:00 p.m. Discuss a problem with one of your newest people. Challenge him to work with his peers to come up with a solution.

Monday, 4:15 p.m. Review the log of assignments and requests you’ve made over the past week. Make contact to monitor how things are coming along.

Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. Weekly staff meeting. Listen to reports, answer questions, stimulate discussion. Above all, inspire your people.

Tuesday, 1:00 p.m. Meetings with employees who report to you. Listen to updates and offer suggestions. Empower people by “walking through” difficult tasks with them.

Tuesday, 3:30 p.m. Think about the major issue that enters your mind when you wake up at night. Ask yourself: Who can help you solve it? Make that telephone call, and prepare to solve a problem.

Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. Communicate with your key “constituencies” — employees, customers and vendors — by composing and distributing a brief informational memo on things that have happened over the past month.

Wednesday, 9:35 a.m. Walk around. Stop to talk with people. Ask questions. Find out what’s going on in the warehouse or on the shop floor.

Wednesday, 12:00 noon. During a luncheon meeting with several key advisors, provide details about key operations in the last quarter. Even more important, articulate your vision for the next quarter and the next year — and explain how you can make it happen.

Wednesday, 3:15 p.m. Join a group of employees who are honouring one of their peers upon completion of his tenth anniversary of employment. Use the occasion to congratulate him and build morale.

Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. Build strength — physical and emotional — by exercising in whatever manner suits you.

Thursday, 7:15 a.m. Arrive early. Create a plan for one new cost-reducing program: a new piece of machinery perhaps, or a new training program.

Thursday, 3:45 p.m. Seek advice about one pressing business concern from a trusted colleague outside of your own enterprise. And be ready to consider and adopt whatever advice is offered.

Friday, 9:30 a.m. Attend a meeting of a key industry trade association. Offer to involve yourself in an upcoming project affecting your industry or profession.

Friday, 12:30 p.m. Learn a new skill — through lunchtime reading, an online course, or a special seminar — and resolve to use it regularly in the weeks ahead.

Friday, 1:30 p.m. Drop in to thank a few of your people who have worked especially hard throughout the week.

End of the Week. Look back on your week with satisfaction. Evaluate how well you performed in your leadership role — and plan to do an even better job in the week ahead.MRO

Richard G. Ensman, Jr., is a regular contributor to Machinery & Equipment MRO.