One of the best tips I learned from a seasoned Executive Director was a “No Bad News on Friday” policy.
Why the need for such a policy? Curiously (it must be a subconscious human nature thing), people tend to go to their bosses on Friday afternoon and share some news that isn’t pleasant before they head home for the weekend. This information usually is not new to them on Friday, they just have been busy with other things and put this conversation off to the end of the week. The result? The “bad news ball” is placed in the Executive Director’s court, leaving all the attendant thoughts and worries with you for the weekend.
By instituting (and reinforcing) the No Bad News on Friday policy, staff are required to bring the information to you earlier in the week so you have time to either:
a.) Take action (phone call, email, letter, schedule a meeting, decision)
b.) Process the news during the workweek so it doesn’t haunt you all weekend.
Now, I must warn you… some people will try to sneak around this one (e.g., come to you at 4:30 p.m. and say “I KNOW about No Bad News on Friday, but I thought you’d really want to know this…”). Ask them if it involves the immediate health or safety of a person or property, or if action that cannot wait until Monday is required. If they reply with any sort of “no” answer, than thank them for their concern and ask them to bring it to you on Monday. This is frustrating to them, because they really want it off their plate for the weekend. But don’t give in! You deserve to think about other things on your weekends!
Some Executive Directors work from home on Fridays as a way to physically avoid these last minute dumps. But be clear that you don’t want the info by email, voicemail, or in person on Friday.
Give this a try for a few months and let me know if you notice any improvements.