How Bosses Waste Their Employees’ Time

How Bosses Waste Their Employees’ Time

Be your boss a line manager, or the big boss of an organisation, they often unwittingly waste your time. There are various ways in which this can happen, from micro-managing to throwing everything at you without explanation.

These issues can be the cause of low staff retention, lack of interest or downright disdain resulting in looking for another job.

The main reason that this behavior is perpetuated is because you can’t tell your boss about it, so maybe you complain to the other staff which has a negative effect.

Not Listening

Arguably, the most demeaning work situation is when you have been tasked with something and come to an educated conclusion based on your findings, only to be ignored. This can mean that the end result had already been decided but the management had to show that appropriate research has been undertaken.

What is the point of tasking an employee with a specific job and not listening to their findings? This is a waste of everyone’s time. More importantly, this undermines the employee and can make them feel inadequate.

Not Delegating

Many a Manager will think that they are the only ones who can perform a task. Sometimes this might even be true, but what they should be doing is sharing information and educating their staff. Otherwise, who will perform the task when they are not available?

There are, obviously, some tasks that can only be done by managers due to the nature of the information. However, if a Manager continually performs routine tasks that employees know how to do, it is usually because they want the kudos for doing it. This is counter intuitive as a Manager because everything their staff does is attributable to their Manager anyway.

This becomes a waste of time for the employee who sat through training to gain the knowledge to deal with the task in the first place. It also means that when an emergency situation occurs whereby the employee MUST perform the task, it will take them twice as long as they are not familiar with it.

Unnecessary Updates

If your manager is one of those who likes to have the latest gadget on the market before anyone else, they probably bring this into the workplace too.

For example, you have a CRM system which suits your firm’s requirements and works well throughout the company. The boss, however, had heard that the competitors have just installed a newly released CRM which is so much better than the current one used in-house.

Without too much thought, they decide that they must ‘keep up with the Jones’s and before you know it there is a major rollout initiative for the new software. You work on the CRM system as the main part of job. You were not consulted, just presented with a solution to a non-existent problem.

This is going to affect your day-to-day work life as records will need to be moved from one system to the next – whilst continuing to do your usual job.

So many Managers insist that systems or procedures need to change without very much justification. This has a knock-on effect on the workforce that is often not fully taken into consideration.

Lack of Trust

This is an easy one to recognise. If you don’t fully trust someone or something what do you do? You keep checking up on them. They then repeat to you everything they are doing and how they are handling situations, rather then getting on with the job.

Even when you have an excellent rapport with your boss, they may still have an underlying mistrust of you, and why? Because you are not them.

The boss doesn’t have time to complete all the tasks that you do – that’s what you are employed for…however, they used to do your job and cannot believe that anyone can do it as well as them.

The alternative reason for the continual checking is that their boss is continually checking with them (probably for the same reasons as detailed previously). They are then projecting this over to you. If they tell their boss that everything is running smoothly and list all of the actions taken, it is immediately out of date since they haven’t spoken to you for the last hour…which is why they will call or email for an update, continually.

This particular time-wasting can escalate to include the ‘not listening’ time wasting. If you have reported all updates to your manager, they may miss the ‘good’ news due to an issue that you raise. This can lead to them contacting you later to ask why they didn’t get told about something.

To avoid the above happening, the employee then emails an update every time he is checked up on – thus providing an audit trail…and wasting even more time!

Not Providing Training

Every time there is a new procedure or significant system update, employees should receive either training or handouts detailing the changes. If this doesn’t happen time is going to be wasted by the employee trying to perform an action on the new updates and getting stuck.

Not only does this affect an employee, but several employees as invariably when they see the system has changed, they will ask their colleague(s) what to do – thus taking them away from whatever task they were performing at the time.


There are many other ways that a boss can impact negatively on their employees’ time but, before judging them, we need to put ourselves in their position. Are they being asked the impossible from their bosses? Are they aware of what they are doing?

It’s not a bad thing to bring these points up in a scheduled one on one meeting with your boss. Many times, they are not aware of what they are doing, and if they are, you get to ask them why.


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