Dedicated to everyone looking to build a healthier relationship to their 24 hours in the day. #OutsideWork
As a general rule of thumb, effective managers and people leaders should aspire to create high performing teams while creating the space for them to achieve success. Sure in theory this sounds easy and perfect but I know firsthand as a Learning and Development Professional that what’s needed is a multi-faceted strategy that involves both people, skills and time (and in some cases patience and lots of trial and error).
As a manager, your goal everyday should be to avoid any management practices that could potentially kill employee productivity. Weak leadership styles come in all sorts of styles, from the disorganized or forgetful boss to the extreme micromanager who is in everyones business. It’s important to realize that your actions are one of the key factors driving workforce engagement, and how the behavior you model impacts your people.
Lucky for you, I have compiled an excellent roundup of ways you can avoid wasting your peoples workplace productivity:
- YOU PLAN MEETINGS TO TALK ABOUT PLANNING A MEETING TO DISCUSS FUTURE MEETINGS.
Nearly half (47%) of respondents to a 2012 Salary.com survey ranked too many meetings as the top workplace time waster. If you’ve spent any time in the business world, you’re likely well-acquainted with the “meeting culture” that seems to permeate every workplace and how it can be a drain on productivity. If you’re a chronic meeting planner, your employees probably already know what it’s like to start making headway on a project only to have their meeting reminder pop up, halting any progress they were making.
Try this: Only plan meetings when they are absolutely necessary. And remember, a quick email can often be more effective than a meeting anyway. Read this article for some more support, 25 Ways To Get More Done In The Workplace
- YOU IGNORE TOP TALENT.
What practices separate your peak performers from your average performers? Ineffective leaders micromanage top performers or ignore their prowess altogether, essentially getting in their way or demotivating them. Good managers recognize and acknowledge high-performance workers giving them responsibilities that best leverage their skills.
Try this: Meet with these individuals and ask what tools they need to do their very best work. Seek to understand their work processes and how they may differ from the rest of your team. To learn more about how to be a better manager – read this, 9 Signs Your Manager Lacks Emotional Intelligence
- YOU CALL PEOPLE OUT IN PUBLIC. A great simple rule of thumb: managers should praise publicly and counsel privately. Criticizing a team member in front of their peers is embarrassing for them; it also has an awkward, demotivating effect on their coworkers, who may now be fearful to make a mistake.
Try this: If you need to speak to an employee, do so in a way that won’t attract attention or distract others. This is especially important in open offices with open floor plans. Take a look at this for some more support, 5 Ways You’re Holding Yourself Back From Success
- YOU LEAD BY FEAR.
Fear is a powerful motivator, but managers who regularly threaten job security and employees’ livelihood run the risk of paralyzing their team. Employees who are afraid to lose their job may crack under the emotional strain and as a result waste company time looking for jobs “just in case” or gossip with coworkers — all activities that kill morale and decrease productivity.
Try this: The next time you feel the need to intimidate another person, especially someone’s job security – take a deep breath, pause and walk away. Nothing good can come from this type of behavior. A great easy and fast book to read that could support you is “The One Minute Manager”
- YOU PREVENT WORKFLOW.
Do you insist on approving every minor detail or a project when you have experienced, competent employees who could easily handle those details themselves? Or maybe you really do need to approve work, but it sits in your in-box for weeks because you’re swamped with other things. Whatever the reason, if you’re acting as a bottleneck and keeping your staff from being able to drive work forward, it’s a sign that something needs to change.
Try this: Consider you either need to relinquish some authority to act without your approval or you need to reallocate your time so that you’re able to get them what they need without unreasonably long delays. Read this to learn more tips: 16 Habits Of Highly Productive People : “Time Management Tips”
- YOU’RE NOT PASSIONATE ABOUT THE WORK.
Employee engagement is a challenge all companies face on some level. A Gallup study on the state of the American workplace found that as much as 70% of workers are not engaged in their work. A key component of engagement is passion. Employees who find purpose in their work are often more engaged and productive. And the same goes for their leadership. If you are not passionate about leading your team and striving to reach goals, your employees will have a difficult time rallying behind you and their commitment to achieving success will wane.
Try this: Take a hard and healthy look at your current role and ask yourself if you have lost your passion, excitement and/or enthusiasm for your job. It may sound like an obvious thing to do but you’d be surprised how easy it is to chase a paycheck or security without factoring in your own happiness. You may also need some time off or just disconnect. Lastly, this could be symptomatic of a larger issue that could require some additional training, coaching and/or education. Either way, you owe to your people and yourself to address your behavior. You can read more inspiration here: 194 Inspiring Quotes
- YOU HAVE TOO MANY BIG IDEAS.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with big picture thinking – in fact, it’s an important part of your job – as long as at some point you focus on a goal and start working toward it. According to information from the Associated Press, the average attention span has decreased by 50% over the past decade. That is 50%, five zero. The effects of a vision-driven leader can have a significant impact on employee productivity. Constantly shifting your focus from one major initiative to another without seeing the previous one through can make it difficult for your employees to put their full potential into any one effort, either because they don’t have time or, even worse, they already expect it’s only a matter of time before you’ll move on to something else.
Try this: There are some fantastic books out there that can enable you to build the necessary muscles to focus better. One of my favorites is Focus: The Hidden Driver For Excellence by Daniel Goleman. Start there and if you want to read more, check out: 22 Traits Successful Managers Demonstrate In The Workplace
- NOT CONVEYING CLEAR EXPECTATIONS.
If you don’t clearly communicate your goals to your people, then you are failing on one of the critical components to being a manager and people leader. You must paint a picture to your people what success will look like so they can go off and work towards that vision/goal.
Try this: If you and your staff member were both asked what’s most important for them to achieve this year, would your answers match? If not, chances are low that you’re going to get the level of performance you’re hoping for. Check out this article for further support, How To Deliver A Killer Workplace Presentation That Would Rival A Ted Talk
- NOT GIVING USEFUL FEEDBACK.
If you want employees to perform at the highest level they can, you need to give them concise and direct feedback about what they’re doing well and what they could improve upon. You will get better work from people by helping them develop their strengths and tackle problem areas.
Try this: Take a look at the SCARF Model and how to deliver effective performance feedback. The latest research on the brain all points to what’s needed to successfully speak, connect and empower others and this model is the lynchpin to all of it. Check out this article for further support, 10 Common Truths Between Being A Parent & Being A Leader
- NOT ASKING PEOPLE WHAT THEY NEED
TO DO THEIR JOBS BETTER.
You might think that you already know what your team’s needs are – but you might be surprised by what you’d find out if you asked. Many people won’t speak up on their own if they need something in fear of looking stupid or insecure but if you ask, they’ll often tell you.
Try this: This is by far the easiest one of all. Simply take the action above and ask them. Seriously, you will waste more time and energy “assuming” you know what they need or want instead of just asking. You may just surprise yourself and make your employee happy in the process. Check out this article for further support, Why Developing Your Intuition Can Skyrocket Your Career and Leadership Skills
If you read this list and found yourself guilty of any of the above actions and are concerned, don’t worry – that’s actually a good sign. That’s a healthy signal that you care and it maybe time to reexamine how you manage your peoples time. In the end, if you are in a managerial role, you should be thinking about whether your employees are being as productive as you need. Focus on cultivating a culture centered on trust, respect and engagement. When you achieve this, your people will be encouraged to grow and learn from both you, others and their own mistakes. A happy and engaged workforce can ultimately focus on what’s important which is their task at hand.
What are some other workplace factors that sink productivity?
Not-your-typical Personal and Executive Master Certified Coach.
Joshua Miller is a creative and impactful leader. His career experience has spanned both the advertising world and the world of leadership and organizational development. To learn more about Joshua, please visit www.JoshHMiller.com
Please click ‘Follow‘ if you would like to hear more from me in the future.