Open Door Policies Don’t Always Work for Finance Project Managers

As a new finance project manager, you’ve decided to implement an open-door policy. Your subordinates should feel free to come to you with questions anytime. After all, open and honest communication is the best path to business success. It isn’t long before your staff takes advantage of your largesse. They come to you constantly with questions, status reports, and just to say hello in person, via phone, and through emails.

While your subordinates seem to get their jobs done more quickly, your tasks are at a standstill. The minute you start something, somebody distracts you. You end up fighting fires all day. How can you get your planned tasks completed and still give the people under you the freedom to ask for your guidance?

Limit your open door policy to a specific time each day, perhaps for an hour, starting after you’ve had time to see what tasks lie ahead and how you plan to manage your work. Do the same thing for any messages you have to respond to. Set a specific time to answer emails, voice mail, and letters. If you don’t have time respond to all requests, whether face-to-face or via machine, either delegate them to an employee or set them aside until the same time tomorrow so you can finish your work today.

It may take a couple of weeks before you can nail down the most efficient times of the day for your open-door activities. Don’t be afraid to change your schedule according to season. For example, if you’re in retail and it’s the busiest shopping day of the year, you may have to set aside the entire day for dealing with customer finance issues as they come up.

You are the master of your schedule – use your time management skills to empower your team and to get your own work done.

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