3 Key Learnings from my 4th Start-up
Blog | 10.14.2014

Successful Managers Lead First, Manage Second

Organizations worldwide are looking at employee productivity and efficient organizational structures very differently. Not so long ago the employee who spent longer hours at work was viewed favorably, today the case is quite different. The focus today has shifted from being busy to being productive while maintaining a healthy work-life harmony. Team leaders play a big role in maintaining this balance and in making sure that their teams are engaged and are delivering to potential. In this article we discuss some simple methods that you can employ to ensure that your team is driven and productive.

Measure to manage

It’s hard to manage what you can’t measure. To make sure that your team is performing to its optimum best it is important to understand that employee utilization and productivity is not about working extended hours. Since people have different skill sets, knowledge levels and experience, obviously, their work output is going to be very different. Understanding individual productivity metrics and analyzing actual effort time spent on work as against other activities will help you set realistic goals which in turn will make sure that projects are completed on time and your team productivity is high.

Communicate clearly

Managers often leave team evaluations for the end of year performance review. In order to maintain the productivity levels of a team, you need to make sure that feedback at the year-end review does not come as a surprise. When constructive feedback is real time and continuous, teams and individuals are able to scale up when required. Since feedback is the corner stone of effective management, team leaders have to ensure that it is given in not only a timely manner but is done thoughtfully…whether it is for a job well done or when corrective action is required.

Meeting discipline

“Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything”, said economist John Kenneth Galbraith. Over 2000 managers claim that at least 30% of their time spent in meetings was a waste according to a survey conducted by Industry Week. Business meeting require people to commit, focus and make decisions but if meetings are too long or too frequent they are actually counterproductive.  By that we don’t mean to imply that team meetings are unnecessary but only that they have to run more efficiently. Meetings should be committed to an action plan, have the right people attending and stay within the time limit to be productive. You should have a definitive agenda in place, ensure that the points of discussion are communicated well in advance via e-mail and keep meetings short; preferably less than 30 minutes to help your team effectively utilize the purpose of the meeting without having a productivity impact.

Make way for Flexibility

Different team membershave different approaches to work which give different yields. Being result driven rather than process driven will empower your team to achieve greater control over their work and hence motivate them to be more productive. Recognizing and making allowances for the different strengths and working styles of individuals while still being on control of what has to be delivered is a key task for the team leader.

Walk the talk

The job of a leader is to create more leaders, not followers.  Since leaders are always being watched by the keen eyes of their respective teams, it becomes essential that you walk the talk and practice what you preach. Being responsible for your actions, nurturing your team by providing support whenever they need it, be it emotional support or helping them with knowledge development, and being respectful of all team members equally goes a long way in boosting employee engagement and keeping productivity levels high.

Most importantly, encourage your team to have a life outside of work so that they can accomplish more at work and help them understand that productivity is not about doing more…it is about creating more business impact.