This week on The Hack Podacst Leon, Paul and Dean talk all about Investing time within yout team and business! 

Investing Formal vs Informal Time with Your Team: What Matters Most?  

What’s discussed? 

As part of The Hack's 100x Leader Challenge, our hosts Leon McQuade, Paul Longley, and Dean Buffield are back to discuss the latest developments in technology and business processes. Today, they're talking about how to be a better leader by consciously investing both informal and formal time into your people. 
As a leader, investing your time in the right ways is important. Some time is more valuable than others, and it's essential to understand the difference between formal and informal investing. Formal investing happens in a structured setting, while informal investing happens spontaneously. Your team needs both kinds of investing to be productive and grow. 
This mini-podcast will explore the importance of investing formal and informal time with your team. 

How we spend our time matters to those we lead 

But not all time is the same. To improve as a leader, you must consciously invest informal and formal time in your team. The skills and relational dynamics that each sort of investment fosters are essential. 
It’s a bit like walking a tight- rope, but both have benefits to productivity and growth; On one side, we've got: 
- formal and structured time. 
On the other 
- informal and spontaneous time 
This balancing act is not an exact science but an art form. Leaders must intentionally provide a balance of both to their people, helping them get to 100% and multiply that with others. 

Formal/Structured time 

Formal/Structured time might be regular 1:1s, training workshops, meetings, and other structured activities. Formal/Structured time allows us to communicate that someone is a priority and gives you a place to share processes, training, resources, and expectations officially. It can also help you establish healthy habits and rhythms and can include; 
Training and development plans 
Set Training time monitored 
Break out groups and champions 
Coaching Courses 

Informal/Spontaneous time 

Informal/Spontaneous time might be a random encouraging text, coffee, drinks after work, or stopping by someone’s office socially or to check-in and offer support. 
Informal/Spontaneous time often allows for deeper relationships, reducing barriers and self-preservation to give people a space to ask questions they want to ask, and allowing people a glimpse into how you think and operate as a leader and can include; 
Vendor Coaching drop-in Q&A 
Playing Fifa in the office 
Food Fridays 
Going for a walk for lunch, walk and talk  

What are your default patterns? 

While some of these investments will come naturally to you, it's essential to be aware of the different types of investments and how they can help your team reach their potential. 
The team considered their tendencies. Dean feels he is naturally an informal trainer and likes to be kept busy and react to ad hoc questions. The 100X leader session helped Dean see how adding structure to his methods can help staff training. Both scenarios require an investment of time; we must find the balance and decide who gets what time and how. 
Paul tends to deliver more formal, structured training but believes it is good to invest more time in people by providing informal support to help develop relationships further. 
Leon has had to work hard to be more formal in his teaching as an informal style was previously his default; he now finds that creating processes has helped him to stick to a structure. 
The team discussed how they could be more flexible and adapt their style to the individual needs of their staff. It’s not an exact science, but by being aware of the importance of both types of time investments, you can begin to experiment with what works best for you and your team. 

Time Management 

Leon explained how we should always be doing our highest and best use by delegating tasks that can be completed by someone else. The team brainstormed a few ways to manage their time better, and ideas included setting time limits for training and tasks. 
Hence, they each have a maximum amount of time that can be spent on it—breaking tasks into smaller chunks to enable each task to be divided into smaller parts so that it can be completed more efficiently—blocking time by setting aside a certain amount of time each day or week to work on the project—but also learning to say no. This means not taking on more tasks than you can handle. 
Time management requires time to learn and establish.  
However, once it becomes a habit, it will help you become productive, organised, and stress-free.  
Who doesn’t want that? 

Work-Life Balance 

Not everyone has the same working pattern; for some, the traditional nine to five just doesn’t work. There can be advantages to working flexibly around yourself, your best time for productivity or your family. 
Finding the right balance is key, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to consider what works best for you, your team and your lifestyle. 
There are a few things you can do to help find the right balance for you: 
-Set boundaries between work and personal life, which means setting aside time for yourself and your family and sticking to it. 
-Make sure you take regular breaks to step away from your desk and clear your head, even if it's just five minutes. 
-Schedule time for yourself, whether it’s to exercise, read or just relax. This will help you recharge and be more productive when working. 
Finding the right work/life balance can take trial and error, but it’s essential to ensure you invest time in your work and personal life. In the long run, this will make you happier, more productive, less stressed and a better leader! 


There is a time, a place, and a need for each type of time investment in your people. We must be intentional about helping people see the benefits of both time investments. Each type of investment serves a different purpose in terms of the skills and relational dynamics they develop. 
The benefits of investing time in formal learning opportunities are clear. They help employees develop new skills, expand their knowledge base, and improve their performance. Formal learning opportunities also allow employees to build relationships with their colleagues and create a support network. 
Informal learning opportunities are less structured but no less important. They allow employees to learn new skills, explore new ideas, and gain experience in different areas. Informal learning opportunities also enable employees to build relationships with their colleagues and develop a support network. 
Both formal and informal learning opportunities are essential for a productive, high-performing team. When leaders invest their time in both ways, team members feel valued and supported. They know their leader is interested in their development and growth, both as individuals and as part of the team. 
Investment of time is not a one size fits all. What works for some might not work for others. The important thing is to create processes and build on relationships that work for you and your team. 
Listen to The Hack today to hear exclusive insights, as well as work and social hacks that can transform your leadership style! 
Check it out now! 
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