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Meeting Deadlines

Meeting Deadlines & Setting Them: A 5 Step Effective Process For Managers

Setting and meeting deadlines are important to keep people focused on a business goal. Having freewheeling deadlines leads to re-working ideas and coming up with new ideas for which there is no time. If deadlines keep organizations functioning properly, then everyone’s working simultaneously on the completion of the target set.

A successful manager is someone who sets and meets deadlines. As managers, you play a pivotal role in executing a business. You spend a significant amount of time planning and scheduling your work, keeping the team organized and motivated towards goals. But, as the saying goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Because of this, managers cannot deliver everything that is expected of them. Don’t worry; there are ways to help you deliver better.

What is a deadline?

A deadline is a time limit before which work must be completed. It is a time limit set on an expected outcome. It is the time when your work-related goals are expected to be completed and turned in. Meeting a deadline entails finishing and submitting your work by or before the time and date assigned to you.

In business, it is the date on or before which some work must be completed to avoid potential losses, financial penalties, termination of employment, or similar consequences. On the other hand, successfully meeting deadlines can bring perks of many kinds both for the management and employees.

An example of a deadline for better understanding is as follows – The sales manager should email the proposal to the prospect by Friday EOD. Here, as a time limit (Friday EOD) is set on an expected outcome (sales proposal), it can be called a deadline.

Importance of deadlines

Deadlines are necessary for managers to establish a sense of urgency, which tends to motivate employees and raise performance. It helps in developing good teamwork between employees and their co-workers and leads to better productivity. Deadlines can be extremely motivating, as they let us know when we’re on the right track. Deadlines also help us to prioritize our work and give an end-goal for our efforts. Having specific deadlines saves a lot of your time which you may waste on smaller goals that are not much important.

Deadlines are important because it’s always good to have a goal in mind. Deadlines help us to make sure that what we’re doing is relevant and in line with what we want to accomplish. Distributing your final goals into smaller pieces of specific and achievable deadlines will make you more efficient. The chances of you achieving those goals will also rise. Deadlines can also help both managers and employees to avoid distractions from their duties.

5 steps to effectively set deadlines for your team

It’s important to set deadlines for your team, but it’s crucial to do this the right way. You can’t just set a deadline and expect people to meet it. That will only cause resentment, and eventually, people will start slacking off or quitting. Here are some ways by which you can be effective in setting deadlines for your team.

1) Set deadlines that are realistic

The first thing that you need to bear in mind is the realism of deadlines. It’s kind of important because if your deadline turns out unrealistic and it’s no longer achievable. There would then be a sense of failure involved. You should aim for realistic deadlines so they are still attainable by the team. But, not necessarily as easy that they lose their challenging factor. These deadlines should not just be realistic but should also be involved in the process and should lead towards the common goal.

2) Give Enough time for meeting deadlines

It’s really important to give your team enough time to be able to meet the deadline. A very tight deadline with a very restricted timeline is lesser likely to be met. You need to make sure that you’re setting them early enough that people have time to meet them. Giving each person some extra time that they can use for their other smaller tasks, duties and personal commitments will have a great impact on meeting deadlines. Then, everyone will know what is required of them when it comes down to work. You could even remind everybody about how long does their task usually takes. This will also help employees with ineffective time management.

3) Be clear about the deadlines

If you want to set a clear deadline, then everyone must know what they have to do. They should also know who should be doing what and when. The last thing which would help people meet their deadline or achieve the goal of your team is definite visibility on time management. This can include allocating very specific roles for each person so that they understand clearly your expectations from them.

4) Involve your team in the process of setting deadlines

The next step is to involve your team in setting deadlines as much as possible. This can also include tasks you provide them with so that they know exactly what is required of them. When this happens, then it motivates people and helps strengthen their connection because when someone excels at something, others notice and appreciate their work achievements more than ever before. Also, involving your team in the process will allow them to raise questions and pinpoint problems in the deadlines. It can help managers filter out unrealistic and unachievable ones. This will make the process more effective.

5) Keep Continuous Communication

One of the things that you need to do for your team to understand deadlines is keeping continuous communication. You should constantly let everyone know when there are changes and updates about the deadline. This way, they will not only be aware of the deadline but also what needs to happen for them to meet it. Continuous communication about the deadlines will also avoid procrastination in putting efforts to meet them.

While understanding the importance of deadlines and how to effectively set deadlines for your team, managers should also understand how they can meet these deadlines. That goes as follows-

Tips for meeting deadlines as a manager

1. Make sure you are well organized and have a clear outline of what you want to accomplish

Ensure that you are well-organized and set specific objectives clearly in mind and write them down. When you are going to take on the tasks or projects, then look at what they entail exactly. You should understand which things need certain attention and which ones can be delayed for later. By defining your goals upfront, weeding out those that are not realistic will be easy as well.

2. Allocate resources necessary for meeting deadlines

After you set the deadlines for your team, you should also make sure that your team has all the required resources for meeting those deadlines. Without necessary resources, completion of deadlines you have set will be difficult. You should take into consideration what your team may not possess or lack. Thus taking this in mind when setting their objectives and timelines for accomplishing their goals.

3. Stay flexible and don’t be afraid to change your plan if things go wrong before meeting deadlines

When you have set a deadline for your team, it comes with certain expectations and goals. However, things may not go according to plan which would lead to changing the plan completely. You should keep in mind that some tasks or responsibilities can be shifted to something else around the office or may just change if there is an issue somewhere else within your organization. These shiftings and changes should be done in a manner that leads to meeting the deadline.

4. Keep a track of the progress towards meeting deadlines

When you have set up a deadline for your team, you should keep track of the implementation of some tasks. A checklist to track every step taken towards meeting the deadline can be of some extra help. Keep in mind that communication and awareness are vital at any given time during these interactions when implementing processes on different levels. If there are many changes required after the initial phase then keeping track will make it easier for both sides to stay aware of what’s going on. It makes things come across as credible because everyone has facts to hand over. This can also help to resolve issues regarding the process.

5. Be proactive in searching for solutions to any problems that may arise

When you have set one or more deadlines for your team, this allows them to deliver outputs concerning planned activities of their tasks. However, if any unexpected problem occurs then it could disrupt some parts of these works and cause a downfall in other areas as well. At such a time when there is an issue, you should be proactive in searching for possible solutions. These solutions should be completely compatible and strong enough to withstand other issues that might arise out of unforeseen circumstances.

6. Persevere – even when the going gets tough!

You should always be prepared for any downside or the possibility of anything. It can be a missed deadline or a complete failure in time management. It may involve a lot of positive things as well. When your team is not willing to incorporate these principles they might never put up efficiency in meeting deadlines if faced with any issues. You must make sure that your team doesn’t falter by such events and firmly tackle situations when there is a need to do so. Even though it will probably seem like you are going through rough times, you should always push yourself and your team towards the work of meeting deadlines. This is just the reality that you will have to cope with as a manager. And, if you fail, just learn to recover from it and come back stronger.

Benefits of Meeting deadlines without fail

These are some benefits you’ll achieve as a manager if you and your team can meet the deadlines

  1. You will demonstrate your authority as a manager by showing that you had the right expectations from your team
  2. It will show the commitment of your team to ensuring that all tasks are completed on time, which leads to increased efficiency in their work overall
  3. This can also lead to better coordination between team members with regards to sharing information and resources needed for each task, leading to improved productivity in the end as well
  4. Finally, by setting a deadline and then successfully meeting it, you can inspire your team to do the same in the future – which is always a positive outcome!

Conclusion

The importance of deadlines cannot be understated. If you don’t set them, your team will never know when they are expected to deliver a certain task or deliver it on time. Deadlines are the lifeblood of any business and must be adhered to. Managers need to learn how to effectively set deadlines and what to do to meet them. Then their team members can meet them on time without much difficulty. We believe that if managers can adapt the tips given above over setting and meeting deadlines, it’s highly likely for them to meet their deadlines and unlock the mentioned benefits.

Practice effective time management to never miss a deadline again.

Get the free time management toolkit to unlock hidden productivity with effective prioritization that drives away procrastination.

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