Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Are You a Bottleneck?

3 Tips for Effectively Managing Urban Interns

Ever hire someone (a consultant, a vendor) only to find that there's WAY too much project management invovled in doing the work? Too much attention may seem like a good problem to have, but let’s be honest…anything that slows down progress is simply a waste of time. It’s one thing to have a responsible point person. It’s entirely something else when the person in the middle is just that—in the middle.

But now look at this question in the context of your team and ask yourself—are you the bottleneck? Are you the one slowing things down? If you’ve hired an Urban Intern (or are about to), you did so for a reason—because you’re busy and need help! Check out the following and make sure the person in the way of productivity is not YOU.

Too hands-on? Starting off a new work relationship with hands-on management is a good idea. It’s important to specify goals, expectations, and have regular check-ins to answer questions. But at the point where you’ve seen nothing but good work and your Urban Intern can’t move forward without having the zillionth check-in, it might be time to loosen the reigns a bit in the spirit of keeping things moving.

Acting as a middleman? Along the lines of seeing good work, once your role as a manager becomes simply forwarding along work to someone else on your team, (colleague, an outside vendor or partner) take it as a sign that it’s time to streamline the communication and get yourself OUT OF THE WAY.

Taking too long to make decisions? There are still many areas where you’ll need to be intimately involved in the details. For example, if you hired someone to write some blog posts, you want to review them before they go online. If you asked for research needed to inform a purchase, you’re going to need to digest than info before moving forward. That’s well and good, but keep in mind that the ball is in your court and next steps can’t be made until you get yourself moving.

If you’ve been wondering why things around you aren’t moving quickly and any (or all!) of the above sound like you, you may have just found your answer!

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