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Leader Productivity: How Can Others Best Communicate with You?

By Dr. Geri Markel On 

Leaders Face Serious Challenges in Managing Communication and Interruptions

Unfortunately, many in the work setting feel that you should be available for their questions, concerns or requests at any time. However, a constant bombardment of emails, texts, phone calls or interruptions is distracting and unproductive.

How necessary are these communications? If you feel that many or most are needless, then too much of your time and energy is dissipated.

The leader’s responsibility is to politely indicate to staff the best times and ways to communicate. Clear policies set the stage for positive and productive communication.

Here are some communication dos and don’t to consider:


  1. Indicate the best and worst times to contact.
  2. Indicate your preferred method of communicating
  3. Put up a Do Not Disturb Sign or cardboard smiley face clock with a moveable hand indicating when you will or not be available. It is essential to have some quiet time during the day to think analytically or creatively.
  4. Do create boundaries when asked, “Do you have a minute?” or “Can I ask a questions?” Practice saying polite phrases that mean “No.” For example, say, “I wish I could talk to you now, but I can’t. Let’s set up another time to connect.”


  1. Have an all day, open door policy. Instead model the need to have some time for quiet, non-distracted time for productive work. Discuss with others the need for a modified open door policy.
  2. Ignore those that respect your requests and help reduce interruptions. Instead, say, “ I appreciate your waiting to discuss the issue, I was able to complete our committees report.”
  3. Be the one that constantly interrupts or sends unnecessary texts or emails.
  4. Avoid discussing the need for policies or procedures to cut down on overloading others with repetitive or unnecessary contacts.

Leaders and staffs are being crushed with a needless barrage of texts, emails, calls and interruptions. Count up how many necessary versus unnecessary contacts you received. Ask others to do the same.  Discuss how these communications interfere with productivity or peace of mind.  Then make some serious decisions about communication best practices.


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