Here’s a tale of two team leaders.
It’s the start of the school year, and each team leader is getting organized. They will hold 10 meetings, respectively, and they have established the dates and times for those meetings. Their next step is to notify their teams about the dates of the meetings, so that everyone can clarify their commitments for the year.
The first team leader inputs all the meeting dates in his electronic calendar and then does a quick search for all the meetings. He then takes a screenshot of the results. He’s delighted because all 10 meetings fit in a single screenshot. He pastes the screenshot into an email and adds a note to his team that says, “Here are our scheduled meetings for the year; please add them to your calendar.” A few weeks later, when he has to change a meeting, he emails the group and asks them to update their calendars. This happens a few times during the year.
The second team leader also inputs all of the meeting dates in her electronic calendar, but instead of searching for the meetings and taking a screenshot, she exports the meetings in a single calendar and then shares that calendar with the team. When they join the calendar, the dates immediately populate in their personal electronic calendars. A few weeks later, when she has to change a meeting, she simply changes it on her calendar and the change appears on all of her team members’ calendars.
Assuming you were on both teams, which leader seems to be more interested in honoring your needs and your time? Which leader is freeing you up to do important work, work that only you can do, instead of the mundane clerical work of inputting meetings into your calendar?
Here’s an illustration from Brad Ovenell-Carter (in Blending Leadership) that makes the same point.