Today, you are a manager choosing between two internal candidates for a position in your department.

Candidate #1 and Candidate #2 both have the same hard skills and have the same amount of service time with the company.  So how do you choose? Let’s look at the soft skills that each one has.

What are the most wanted soft skills?

  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Time Management
  • Networking
  • Empathy
  • Critical Thinking

Candidate #1 has these skills to one degree or another, except for Time Management. Candidate #2 has all the skills.  Who’s going to get the job? If you said Candidate #2, you are correct.

Why is Time Management so important – and how can you tell if your Time Management skills are lacking?

Time Management simply means you are on time – or a little bit early – all the time.  It means that your work is turned in on time, and if it is going to be late for any reason – your boss knows why and what you are doing to correct the problem.  If you work with a team, you know how important it is that each member completes their work on time because if they don’t the entire project is late and the entire team suffers.

Take a hard look at your work performance.

  • Are you usually 5-10 minutes late coming in to work?
  • Do you have a hard time getting started on a project, thereby finding yourself up against a hard deadline and working all night?
  • When the team checks in for updates, do you have any?
  • Do you often find yourself going to your supervisor and asking for help to finish a task?

If you’re answering yes, or sometimes; you have a habit that needs to be broken.  Being late is a habit and being on time is a habit, so you can change.

“All bad habits start slowly and gradually and before you know you have the habit, the habit has you.”

-Zig Ziglar

There are many well-known ways to break a habit.  Start with saying “I don’t come to work late”. Ask yourself what triggers your tardy button.  Do you oversleep because you don’t get enough rest?  Are you late leaving the house because you couldn’t find something to wear? (Although in these Covid-19 days that may not be a problem!)  What gets in the way of being on time?

Getting to work on time should be the easiest habit to form.  Getting your work done on time is going to take more work, but you can do it! Any assigned task has a deadline.  Estimate how long you need to get the task done, break the task into segments, assign a deadline for each segment and check yourself every day to see how you are doing. If you see that there is a barrier to finishing on time, immediately let your boss know. Again – what triggers your late button?  Not everyone is a self-starter, but when you have a task to accomplish, you should be able to complete it in a timely manner.  This requires being hard on yourself – no break until you finish that days’ segment, when you finish, you get to get up and walk around for 5 minutes.  Keep reminding yourself that the ultimate goal is to be known as someone who is always on time – with everything.

“When someone can get work done in a timely manner, they immediately become more valuable,” said Steven Page, vice president of digital strategy at data and digital marketing services agency Giant Partners.  “Also, your employer will want to give you important work to do because you can have an optimal turnaround time.”