Managers want their teams to be as efficient and productive as possible. However, because many managers neglect to make improvements to their efficiency, they may be slowing down their teams. In fact, according to the Pareto principle, 80 percent of outcomes come from 20 percent of the work, meaning most managers spend most of their time on low-productivity tasks.
By focusing on these five areas for improvement, you can cut some of that slack 80 percent, getting your employees back to work faster by dealing with problems in good order.
Nothing sucks the energy out of a workplace like a manager who can’t make tough calls, deal with interpersonal problems, or decide on goals and objectives. Indecisive managers make it hard for everyone to work, stalling projects and leaving employees idle and procrastinating. Worse, if managers don’t deal with growing problems effectively, they can develop into productivity-sapping monsters.
Try never to let things lie unanswered. Divide decisions into important and unimportant ones. Rather than focusing on inconsequential choices, put your energy into crucial decisions. Use that time to logically break down the pros and cons of the decisions, instead of ignoring them till it’s too late.
Communicate Clear Expectations
The vast majority of managers report that they dislike communicating with employees but to get good work out of your team, your employees must know what you expect of them, and that means you have to talk to them personally. People retain information better if they hear it said instead of just scanning an email, and better still if they have to repeat it in their own words.
If you’re having trouble being understood, ask employees to repeat information back to you. If they misunderstand consistently, then ask yourself if you’re being too vague or relying on jargon and buzzwords. “Focus on the specific things you want from your employees and explain the whyby referencing overall goals and organizational vision,” stated Mr. Misso.
Avoid Open-Ended Meetings
Set defined times and objectives for meetings, keeping away from unrelated topics, casual conversations, and gossip. Go to meetings with a plan and keep to a timed agenda if possible. For quick check-ins and simple problems, avoid meetings altogether in favor of an impromptu, informal discussion. Be sure to keep it short and sweet.
Stick to Defined Plans and Goals
Set goals for yourself and your team, such as increasing productivity, increasing rates of return or improving your leadership skills. Break down each goal and set benchmarks by which you can plan for efficient achievement. Organize your time, and schedule specific times for tasks you avoid or often get bumped by seemingly higher priorities. That will keep these tasks from coming down on you all at once or causing avoidable problems.
Never Stop Learning
“A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So, they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem.” — Steve Jobs
The only way to stay ahead of change is to know enough that you can adapt to it when it comes. Change is unavoidable, and if you ever stop learning, you’ll be hit with new trends that you don’t understand and problems beyond your grasp. Make a point of staying on top of the news, both within your industry and the wider world, making a note of new developments to gain at least a cursory understanding.
With a modest effort, you can find solutions to new management problems, altering your goals and changing your routines as necessary. Focus on improving in the areas that bring the best efficiency and productivity outcomes, and be decisive, communicate efficiently, stick to your goals, and expect the best from your employees.