Managing You Time - "Who's Got the Monkey" Essay

Decent Essays

An analogy that underscores the value of assigning, delegating and controlling

Richard T. Christensen, Management Consultant

In any organization, the manager's bosses, peers and subordinates, in return for their active support, impose some requirements, just as the manager imposes some requirements upon them when they are drawing upon his or her support. These demands constitute so much of the manager's time that successful leadership hinges on an ability to control this "monkey on the back" effectively.

Why is it that managers are typically running out of time while their subordinates are typically running out of work? In this article, we shall explore the meaning of management time as it relates to the interaction between …show more content…

Send me a memo on that."

Let us analyze this one. The monkey is now on the subordinate's back because the next move is his, but it is poised for a leap. Watch that monkey. Johnson dutifully writes the requested memo and drops it in his out basket. Shortly thereafter, the manager plucks it from his in basket and reads it. Whose move is it now? The manager's. If he does not make a move soon, he will get a follow up memo from the subordinate (this is another form of supervision). The longer the manager delays, the more frustrated the subordinate will become (he'll be "spinning his wheels") and the more guilty the manager will feel (his backlog of subordinate imposed time will be mounting).

Or suppose once again that at a meeting with a third subordinate, Smith, the manager agrees to provide all the necessary backing for a public relations proposal he has just asked Smith to develop. The manager's parting words to her are "Just let me know how I can help." Now let us analyze this. Here the monkey is initially on the subordinate's back. But for how long? Smith realizes that she cannot let the manager "know" until her proposal has the manager's approval.

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