There’s a part of us that wants to be the best boss in the world. We want employees to love and respect us, we want employees to stay with the company forever, and we want to proudly drink from out “Best Boss” mug, knowing the mug is an understatement.
When you picture a great boss, a great leader, or a great manager, do you picture yourself? I’m sure you do. But what makes you a great boss? How do you assess whether or not your management style is effective? Your employees may be polite to your face, but you can’t measure your management style just from the way employees behave in front of you. You need a way to measure your management style and its effectiveness. Are your employees productive? Are they meeting or exceeding their goals? What is their actual output?
Employee output is the best measurement of effective management.
Let’s talk about six things you may do that decreases employee productivity, and the six ways you can improve your management style to increase employee productivity.
You may think you’re giving your employees free will, but how many times do you check your employees’ monitors? How many times do you convene with them to see where they are in their tasks? If you are frequenting to your employees’ offices or cubicles to question them and approve every project detail, then you’re probably a micromanager.
I know – I know. There is a certain stigma about micromanagers, so no one wants to admit that they are one; however, it’s important to think about how many minutes or hours you waste checking on employees. Remember, the first step is admitting you have a problem.
I have a shopping addiction and you have a micromanagement problem. Perhaps you, good sir or ma’am, can micromanage my bank account…
Micromanagement decreases productivity because these managers tend to waste time following up with employees and confirming that employees aren’t simply sitting and browsing Reddit.
Micromanagers also assign tasks to employees and then take back the project because they don’t trust employees to do it right.
Micromanagement decreases productivity and tells employees you don’t think they’re competent enough to handle projects.
Your employees were hired for a reason, so you should let them prove themselves and grow. Employees like responsibility and they like to earn their manager’s trust. So take a chill pill managers. Good work will get done if you loosen up the leash and give your employees a chance.
I know I’m that person who points out contradicting statements, but are you that person? You should know when you’re contradicting yourself or the company. If you’re not that person, then maybe you should be.
When you give your employees assignments, make sure you don’t throw in different tasks throughout the day that could confuse employees and their priorities. Tell your employees how you’ll measure their success and progress so you and your employees are on the same page.
Unclear expectations and changing priorities frustrates employees, decreases productivity, and ultimately fewer tasks will be completed.
Expectations and feedback go hand-in-hand; set clear expectations and provide detailed feedback as to whether or not those expectations were met.
Us humans often take things for granted; we let good things pass unmerited and point out the negatives. It’s good to provide positive reinforcement and constructive criticism in our personal lives and in the workplace.
For example, my mother criticizes my subpar cooking skills and I criticize her outrageous “hip” outfits; however, she compliments my inherent good looks and I compliment her Asian-ness.
Be clear and concise on what you do and don’t like about your employees’ projects. It’s easy to find something wrong and to disagree, but remember to tell employees the things you like and want to see more of. Remember that positive reinforcement is more effective than negative reinforcement.
That’s how I trained my boyfriend, but it hasn’t been as effective on my rambunctious cat.
It’s easy to get distracted, especially then you’re sitting at a computer and looking for inspiration to spew out business-related blogs… No? Just me?
We are social creatures. Sometimes we just have an urge to go out and mingle with our co-workers. I get it. Kind of. Honestly, I’m more of a “let me finish my work so I can drink my wine in peace later” type of person, but it’s good to be social and take the time to get to know your employees once in while. Just be mindful of how often you’re barging into their office to chat or give them a new task.
Microsoft’s recent research on employee interruption revealed that workers are interrupted about four times per hour. And employees don’t immediately resume their tasks 40% of the time. It’s hard to be engrossed in a task, get disrupted, and then resume the work grind.
An example of my attention span is when I’m working at home, and then a sad commercial about homeless pets comes on and I think to myself, “I wonder how people establish cat shelters…”
I’m a curious cat, so I tend to spend hours Googling and researching random topics. I mean, you would see my exact thought process on anything and everything if you look at my search history. But, I’m actually a productive worker and rarely deviate from my tasks because I tune out the noise and keep my door one-quarter open to indicate, “Come in if you need to see my fabulous face, but it better be important because I’m working.”
Onboarding, such as training and development, have taken a hit from budget cuts and an increasing work pace. Employees are expected to train themselves and navigate company tools on their own. Employees are also often producing work without much, or any, training.
Short and narrow training decreases productivity because employees have to delegate time to training during a project, and it often results in a slower work pace and lower work quality because employees are working with unfamiliar tools.
If you’re constantly criticizing work, dangling unemployment in front of employees, or simply segregating yourself from your employees to establish your title, then you may be a fearmonger [refer to “The Devil Wears Prada” movie for a clear definition of a fearmonger].
Fearmongers are generally people we all want to avoid.
Rigid structure and control may keep people on their toes, but it will also stifle creativity, ideas, and honest opinions. Employees who fear their bosses won’t bring up things out of fear of being judged and attacked – they may even run the opposite direction of you within the office, which is what I do when I see acquaintances whom I fear won’t remember me.
Be open and friendly to employees and co-workers, acknowledge employee input, and use open body language. Remember that people determine your approachability by your body language – don’t cross your arms and furrow your eyebrows.
So we know that micromanagement, unclear expectations, poor feedback, interruptions, insufficient training, and fearmongering decrease employee productivity. But we also know that encouraging self-initiation, setting goals, complimenting good work, leaving employees alone, providing thorough training, and being friendly increase employee productivity and output.
What will you do, Young Grasshopper? I suggest you heed the advice that’s been supported by multiple case studies.
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