Stop Enabling. Start Empowering.

In the pursuit of productivity, team members constantly asking if you’ve “got a minute” takes a toll. Every interruption and every fleeting request adds up, consuming the precious hours of the day until suddenly you reach the end of your day and your to-do list remains untouched.

Let’s confront the uncomfortable truth: As leaders, we have the power to either empower or enable our teams. Yet, when we fall victim to the incessant demands for a minute here and there, we risk fostering a culture of dependence rather than autonomy.

Sure, your team members may argue, “But how can I do my job without quick answers?” But we live in the era of self-sufficiency. In today’s age of information abundance, resources like Google and ChatGPT stand ready to answer any question, 24/7.

Here’s the kicker: accessibility shouldn’t equate to perpetual availability. You can’t be an on-call assistant or an all-knowing search engine. You’re a leader with a business to run, decisions to make, and strategies to implement.

So what’s the solution? 

Boundaries — clear, unapologetic boundaries that delineate when you’re available and when you’re off-limits. 

Consider implementing office hours: a dedicated window where questions are welcome (but don’t be surprised if the inquiries dwindle as self-reliance takes root).

When it comes to the fear of setting boundaries, I’ve seen some resort to extreme measures: hiding away like recluses in their offices, avoiding the incessant bombardment of “got a minute?” requests. 

There’s a better way — a way that doesn’t involve playing hide-and-seek in your own workplace.

Stand tall, set your boundaries, and reclaim your time. 

Whether it’s designating specific hours for availability or redirecting questions to scheduled meetings, take charge of your schedule, and watch as productivity surges and dependence plummets.

In the end, you will not succeed if you’re stuck acting as a 24/7 helpdesk. Instead, foster a culture of self-sufficiency, autonomy, and respect for boundaries. 

And next time someone asks if you’ve “got a minute,” remember: your time is precious, your boundaries are sacred, and you’re no one’s on-demand assistant.

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