by MSG Dorothy Anderson, US Army
Time management is crucial for leaders, including effective task coordination for maximum productivity. Junior leaders must adopt strategies to optimize their time through proper planning, scheduling, and prioritizing to allow them to manage their responsibilities and team dynamics. Junior leaders have diverse roles and must balance their workload, learn new skills, and develop leadership abilities. The tasks may challenge time management as they navigate numerous responsibilities, affecting their productivity as they become overwhelmed and lose track of priorities. Considering their leadership roles, junior leaders should act as role models to their subordinates, which mandates effective time management practices to achieve their goals and ensure their team’s success.
The abbreviation DOTMLPF-P stands for the Department of Defense model Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel, Facilities, and Policy. This model depicts the various “solutions” needed to build an operational capacity (United States Army War College [USAWC], 2022, p.1-1). Junior leaders can use more practical solutions to assist with time management concerns by incorporating technology, training, and leadership and education from the DOTMLPF-P framework providing feasible solutions to support better time management with junior leaders.
Time management is vital to organizational effectiveness and is associated with strategic planning, shaped by leaders’ behaviors. Leaders create goals, delegate roles, and guide their teams to accomplish their objectives. The leader’s role is, thus, connected with proper time management and how they inspire the same from their subordinates. Time management is “a form of decision-making individuals uses to structure, protect, and adapt their time to changing conditions” (Aeon & Aguinis, 2017, p. 311). Hence, a leader must adapt time per the organizational processes and structure individual tasks to accomplish their goals. Leaders’ ability to plan and prioritize should exemplify their competency and inspire similar time management abilities in their employees.
The significance of time management applies to the overall success of an organization. Being able to manage your time is a self-regulatory practice that shapes people’s well-being and productivity and has diverse interests as professionals gain to understand how companies and leaders can enhance employee time management (Aeon & Aguinis, 2017). Successful companies have excellent organizational cultures characterized by a good work-life balance where the human capital adequately fulfills their tasks (Aeon et al., 2021). Ineffective time management leads to stressful situations in which employees work long hours, resulting in unaccomplished duties, job dissatisfaction, and anxiety. The challenges demotivate leaders and reduce their job morale. Junior leaders face similar problems and challenges similar to senior leaders due to managing many people and diverse roles.
Effective time management defines organization systems, including planning and operations. However, junior leaders navigate many roles affecting their productivity because of limited time management capabilities. Statistics show that “88% of working people procrastinate daily,” and they are distracted by the internet, numerous tasks, and procrastination (Baruffati, 2023). Time management challenges need more self-regulation, leading to procrastination or multitasking. Besides distractions, organizations with inefficient systems and processes lead to inappropriate planning, contributing to time management issues. For instance, an outdated system without proper information flow systems or complicated procedures would require Soldiers to use more time completing a task, slowing their productivity and increasing their workload.
A high workload is a significant influence on effective time management. Junior leaders play many roles as they work for promotion incentives and to accomplish their responsibilities. Numerous tasks might affect how they prioritize tasks, making them overwhelmed and unable to manage their time effectively (Shouman et al., 2022). Proper planning and schedule organization allow leaders to prioritize their goals and time effectively. However, with proper knowledge and abilities, younger leaders may manage their time, which contributes to stress in the workplace by multitasking and distractions. These factors affect the junior leader’s productivity, who might feel inept caused by pressure from the workload and stress to be successful (Goldsby et al., 2020). Poor time management leads to a poor work-life balance, stressing the leader and their subordinates as they struggle with tasks. Developing solutions to support time management for junior leaders is vital to enhancing their leadership competency.
The solutions to effective time management for junior leaders will focus on a holistic approach, considering organizational and individual needs. The DOTMLPF-P is significant because it is a critical authoritative intellectual instrument in the Department of Defense’s attempts to increase efficiency and effectiveness (USAWC, 2022). This process provides a practical tool that examines all aspects to achieve the best solution. The solution for improving junior leaders’ time management will cover improving doctrine, training, material, leadership and education, facilities, and policy within the Army.
Many books discuss time management, focusing on the organization and senior management supporting effective leadership. The Army must write a doctrine that focuses on developing clear and consistent time management policies and procedures that direct organizational planning, scheduling, delegating, and implementing activities. Research shows that companies with effective policies supporting planning will guide the leader’s ability to set, plan, and monitor the activities, leading to successful operations (Aeon et al., 2021). Besides, it ensures proper scheduling and delegating, enhancing their work-life balance and job satisfaction (Shouman et al., 2022). The procedures will streamline operations, eliminate confusion, and reduce stressors. The cost of this solution includes implementing an Army doctrine and policy to capture time management guidelines. Nonetheless, it will positively affect the Soldiers’ increased job satisfaction and efficiency. After the doctrine is written, a training program will be put into place.
The new doctrine will allow for training the junior leaders and supplying resources to help enhance their time management skills. This training should be firsthand and conducted in a classroom environment. Leaders must remove Soldiers from the organization during the training time frame to make sure the Soldiers can entirely focus on learning these new skills. Time management training creates awareness of efficient planning and achieving a work-life balance (Aeon et al., 2021). Time management is a self-regulatory practice as leaders gain skills to change their attitude and behavior toward time management. Training can go over how to delegate tasks; this helps free up their time and allows team members to develop their skills and take on more responsibilities. The costs involved include training expenditures and time allocated for training. The strategy is a sustainable time management approach, as senior leaders’ mentorship is applicable. Training must review recommended materials for junior leaders to incorporate into day-to-day activities.
The material element includes providing tools and technology, such as project management software, to support effective time management. The United States Army identifies that the material component is equipment crucial in conducting a mission (Kamara, 2023). Therefore, the Army must provide resources to complete the duties that Soldiers are tasked to undertake while promoting time management. They include modern communication, planning, and tracking software, which will support leaders’ efforts in time management, such as planning or reducing procrastination. Once the tools and technology are available for Soldiers the next step is to implement a leadership and educational program. The leadership and education element entails educating junior leaders and improving their time management knowledge.
Leadership and Education
The solution under leadership and education is to encourage and model effective time management practices among senior leaders and promote ongoing education and training for all team members. The approach is sustainable as it trickles down to other personnel in the organization. Education on time management supports self-regulation and helps leaders identify practices to optimize their time for maximum productivity (Trentepohl et al., 2022). Education through modeling exemplifies experiential learning, meaning people learn from their seniors or colleagues. Teaching time management solutions will have minimal costs but huge benefits, considering the leaders and personnel learn from each other. Outsourcing educational programs will be costly, but they provide expert training for Soldiers, lowering the requirement for additional trainers pulling from career management fields, thus creating another tasking requirement. The facility element is resources or infrastructure supporting leadership and education recommendations.
The Army should offer junior leaders a conducive working environment that promotes effective time management. Practical strategies include a quiet and safe workplace, autonomy in their work, and proper communication systems. The learning environment should be free of micro-management and distraction, which is crucial for leaders’ concentration. The approach is feasible as it supports leaders’ self-regulation abilities, reduces workload, and helps them avoid procrastination. This approach will not add additional resources or infrastructure. For hands-on training, units can utilize conference rooms or bay areas already within the footprint. Utilizing the different facilities must be written in an Army-mandated policy.
The policy aspect includes assessing regulations or structures that limit junior leaders’ ability to manage time effectively. In line with this situation, the Army must establish policies supporting effective time management practices, such as email and meeting management guidelines. For example, no meetings after 1700 or from 1200 to 1300. Also, policy should mandate the end of the day for all Soldiers to afford the downtime and time with family; this will aid junior leaders in accomplishing their goals. The costs accrued from the new policy may include time and resources to develop and implement the policies. The Army will need to conduct a needs assessment to decide how best to implement the new policy and which will benefit junior leaders. Following the completion of the needs assessment, the Army may hire consultants to provide training on the new doctrine and policy.
Junior leaders can use more practical solutions to address time management concerns by incorporating technology, training, leadership and education. Competent junior leaders have adequate time management skills, supporting their productivity, better decision-making, and overall job satisfaction. However, these leaders navigate many tasks affecting their ability to manage time effectively, resulting in stress, poor work-life balance, and lack of motivation. The DOTMLPF-P framework incorporates practical solutions that support junior leaders and address all areas of responsibility and team dynamics.
The components of the DOTMLPF-P framework develop a range of feasible solutions, from establishing clear and consistent time management policies and procedures to providing tools and technology to support effective time management. Although the proposed strategies have implementing costs, they are viable and offer myriad benefits to organizations and junior leaders. Hence, the framework is comprehensive and efficient for improving time management skills and increasing junior leaders’ productivity and job satisfaction.
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Baruffati, A. (2023, March 20). Time management statistics 2023: Facts & trends. GITNUX. https://blog.gitnux.com/time-management-statistics/
Goldsby, E., Goldsby, M., Neck, C. B., & Neck, C. P. (2020). Under pressure: Time management, self-leadership, and the nurse manager. Administrative Sciences, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci10030038
Kamara, H. (2023, February 24). Tenets of Army modernization. Association of the United States Army. http://www.ausa.org/publications/tenets-army-modernization
Shouman, L., Vidal-Suñé, A., & Alarcón Alarcón, A. (2022). Impact of work-life balance on firm innovativeness: The different strategies used by male and female bosses. Administrative Sciences, 12(3). https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci12030115
Trentepohl, S., Waldeyer, J., Fleischer, J., Roelle, J., Leutner, D., & Wirth, J. (2022). How did it get so late so soon? The effects of time management knowledge and practice on students’ time management skills and academic performance. Sustainability, 14(9). https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095097
U.S. Army War College. (2022). How the Army runs: A senior leader reference handbook 2021-2022. https://usawc-ssi-media.s3.us-east-1amazonnaws.com/pubs/2021-2022_HTAR.pdf
MSG Dorothy Anderson joined the Army in 2001 as a Human Resource Specialist. She has served in numerous duty positions throughout her career, most recently serving as the Brigade Senior HR Sergeant for the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade at Schofield Barracks, HI. MSG Anderson holds her MBA in Healthcare Administration and bachelor’s in human resource management. She is currently a student of Class 73 at he U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.
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