If you are a manager, the chances are that you often wonder whether your employees are being as productive as you need them to be. But have you ever turned that question around and looked at it the other way? Maybe you are the one standing in the way of their productivity. Read on to find out various ways you might be stifling your employees’ productivity.
- Trying to approve every little detail. Do you make it a practice to approve ever minor detail of your team’s work when you have experienced, competent workers who can easily handle these details themselves? Or, if you really do need to approve their work, does it sit in your inbox for weeks? You may be acting as a bottleneck and slowing down work which could otherwise be deal with rapidly.
- Using your staff as ‘helpers’. When you treat your team as helpers to the manager, you are forgoing the opportunity to give them real ownership and responsibility. This leaves your staff feeling that they’re only there to perform whatever tasks you assign rather than having the chance to act more broadly. Additionally, it can mean that you are left to bear the burden of identifying what needs to be done and assigning the work. Most employees will value broader responsibilities over executing individual tasks.
- Not providing clear expectations. If you don’t communicate clear, concrete goals for your team’s work, you are failing at one of your most important jobs. Your employees need to share your understanding of what it means to succeed in their role.
- Not conveying useful feedback. Your employees need clear, direct feedback if they are to perform at their highest potential. You will need to frequently provide feedback to help your team develop their strengths and address problem areas. Don’t forget to provide lots of praise!
- Not giving your team an opportunity for quiet concentration. Do you often stop by for spontaneous conversation rather than scheduling one-on-ones? Do you make it a habit to encourage your employees to be always accessible to you and the rest of the team? You may be limiting their productivity by interrupting their workflow.
- Insisting on doctor’s notes in order to take sick days. If your company requires employees to present proof of illness when they need to take a sick day, you might want to rethink this policy. Requiring your team to go to the doctor’s office when they just have a cold implies that you don’t trust them, and can be interpreted as an insult. It also results in your workers coming in to work sick, when they can’t focus or produce at normal levels. It also means that illness gets spread to more employees.
- Creating a hostile environment. Ruling through rigid control, negativity, and fear might ensure that no-one misbehaves – but it also means that employees won’t bring up new ideas for fear of being met with criticism. Your staff need to feel comfortable enough to be honest about ideas and problems if you want to your company to really flourish.