Educate your Environment
One of the biggest challenges of being a parent is that whether you like it or not, there are eyes on you at all times! Children watch, process, and mimic the behaviors modeled to them regardless of if those behaviors are productive or damaging. Similarly, those on your team are constantly observing the way you manage priorities, react to deadlines, and allocate your attention. Therefore, we must remember that if we want to engrain effective attention allocation skills within an organization or department, it must first start with modeling those skills from the top. What can this sound like?
“It sounds like what you want to talk about is important to you, so I want to be able to give you my dedicated attention. Let’s schedule a time when it works for both of us so we can discuss this at a time where I will not be distracted like I would be right now.”
“I am in the middle of a priority project; is this an emergency? If so, I am happy to stop what I am doing but if not, please send me an email and I will respond by the end of the day with a time for us to meet personally.”
“That’s a great question; give me an idea of what you’ve done already to try to find an answer.”