I often live by the motto that I cannot control what other people do, I can only control what I do. But sometimes, it’s really tempting to try, especially when it comes to increasing work productivity. To go along with my earlier post on personal productivity tips (namely, prioritization), today I’m offering 14 hints on how to encourage greater productivity among your team.
- Stop micromanaging. When you feel the need to oversee every single thing that goes on, it demotivates some employees, and causes others to be less productive because they are paralyzed by fear.
- Find ways to hold fewer meetings. When you aren’t actually working, you can’t be productive. Sure, meetings are a necessary part of work life and are great for sharing information and brainstorming, but you can’t have days full of meetings and still expect your team to remain productive. They need time to produce the results you’ve discussed in these meetings.
- Allow for job rotation. When possible, allow employees to rotate positions, or take on different tasks. Breaking up the monotony can reduce boredom and increase productivity, and it has the added bonus of giving employees a better big picture view of the organization.
- Provide immediate feedback or information. If an employee comes to you with a question, as often as possible respond immediately. Pushing off an answer means that the employee is now forced to set a task aside or spend time trying to track down another person who might have an answer (of course, sometimes immediate answers are outside of your control if you don’t have the information requested). Along the same vein, whether good or bad, provide employees feedback on the work they have produced as soon as possible.
- Provide responsibility to employees. Whenever possible, give your team members responsibility for different tasks. If someone knows that the entire team is counting on them to produce, they will get the job done.
- Utilize your workers where they fit best. Sometimes, bad hiring decisions are made, and employees are placed in positions that don’t necessarily speak to their skill sets. When this happens, figure out how you can realign the employee into work that can best draw on his or her knowledge and ability.
- Don’t forget to be grateful. A simple “thank you” can go a long way. Employees want to feel that the work they are doing is appreciated; they are less likely to be motivated to continue doing thankless work.
- Help employees understand that they are part of the larger team or agency goals, and empower them to help work toward them. There are always things that you can’t share with your employees, but when possible, let them know what’s going on at the agency and how the team’s work, or their personal work, is contributing to overall success.
- Encourage more teamwork. Allow everyone on your team to succeed or fail together. Develop a culture that values open communication and collaboration so that your team members begin to rely and depend on one another.
- When working on goal development with employees, help them set ones that are attainable. If an employee feels that a goal can never be reached, he or she can quickly lose interest in working toward it.
- Develop your future leaders. Encourage independence and skill growth among your team to help them understand how the good work they’re putting in today can breed bigger and better things—both personally and professionally—tomorrow.
- Don’t forget to take a team break. On occasion, invite your team to do something fun together. Maybe it’s lunch in the conference room, happy hour, or a lunchtime trip to a museum. Bonding with coworkers is a motivator in that it helps employees better understand and care about how the work they produce impacts those around them.
- Provide suggestions. This isn’t the same as micromanaging, and it certainly isn’t the chance for you to be outwardly critical. Instead, provide constructive criticism or suggestions to your employees if you see that they are struggling with certain tasks.
- Explain the why and how of things. We’re naturally curious. So when you hand out tasks or start projects without any indication of how the work is expected to be done or why it should be done, your employees don’t perceive a greater value in the task that motivates them to finish the task.
What are your tips?