As a manager or leader, it is so easy to get wrapped up in your world and your workload.  Of course, we need to focus on our workload, but you have to remember an essential part of any managers workload is their team. People you manage must come first!

Without appropriate time being made available, then there is a danger that they don’t have the proper support and guidance needed to meet their objectives.  Therefore we must make time for the team, and this must be a priority. Some key things to consider when making time:

Schedule the time – make sure you schedule in your diary time for your team; this could either be meetings or a quick update.  If you don’t, then other things will fill your diary. There are advantages and disadvantages of having a regular meeting over random dates.  However, what’s important is that they are scheduled; otherwise, they won't happen.

Listen – really important you listen to what is going on, not to list to respond but to listen to understand.  Team members will quickly realise if you're going through the motions, we have to understand and we do this by asking questions to confirm understanding. Listening is essential to effective communication; this is vital to supporting them.

Emotional intelligence – develop these skills, and you will never look back.  This is all about understanding people, their behaviours, and developing a positive pattern so individuals feel they can talk to you.  We have to put the effort in to build rapport with team members, so they feel comfortable when talking to us.

Observe the team – don’t just lock yourself away in an office, active management is all about understanding what’s going on with your team and to do this effectively you have to see what’s going on.  I have witnessed managers observe what is going on without getting involved, and they are amazed at what they are picking up.

All managers and leaders must make time for their team.  Yes, we all have things that can absorb us, and it is easy to leave your team until last. When we do this, we run a risk, we might not know what’s going on, and individuals may not perform to the best of their abilities.

Ralph Moody is the founder of Target Training and specialises in trainer and management development.  You can read more about him here.