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As leaders and managers, we want our teams to be more productive, more responsive and as efficient as possible. We’re constantly thinking of ways to better manage our time and to get more done in smaller windows of time. However, this ongoing battle is ultimately damaging our teams’ output. It’s creating more stressful working conditions, which actually leads to less productivity and more exhaustion in the long run.
The biggest problem I see is how often new leaders and managers focus on prioritizing getting more and more done throughout the workday. This may sound like a wonderful goal at first. After all, overworking yourself and accomplishing all of your daily or weekly goals is anything but a crime. In fact, it’s wonderful in the short run. A 100- or 400-meter sprint is achievable, but very few people can — or should — sprint an entire marathon. Running your company isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon.
Romanticizing the idea of working a lot is highly detrimental to your team and your long-term goals. So, how can you focus on company culture and long-term productivity instead? Your number-one priority in managing a team or leading a business should be to nurture your employees and your company culture. Happier employees make for a better culture, and with a great culture you will see work quality, camaraderie and collaboration improve.
I’ve outlined some best practices that I’ve employed within my own business that have helped us stay positive and keep a long-term focus.
1. Host team dinners and activities.
Consider leaving the office early some days to make it to a happy hour, a team dinner or even a fun outing at a Topgolf or Dave & Buster’s. This will not only boost your team dynamics, but you’ll see greater efficiency and collaboration within the office as everyone gets comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions.
2. Forget the 9-to-5 workday.
You shouldn’t have to stare down your employees’ necks to ensure that they’re getting work done. Focusing on long-term productivity and improving your culture means you are establishing trust within your team. So, trust them to get their work done and effectively manage their own schedules. Let them leave for doctor’s visits and allow them the option to work from home when their children are sick. Most employees today are looking for flexibility in the workplace.
3. Get to know team members on a personal level.
Long-term productivity and employee retention go hand in hand. After all, it’s hard to aim for long-term productivity if you’re more focused on hiring and ensuring that daily tasks and projects are still being completed. Show employees that you care by getting to know them personally.
This is where the team outings and activities come in. Get to know what makes them tick, what their hobbies are, what their families are like and more. These genuine interactions help people feel included and cared for. A small gesture such as bringing in their favorite candy bar on a bad day can make a world of difference.
4. Set attainable short-term goals.
It’s true that focusing on the long term often means sacrificing some short-term goals. As leaders, we need to accept that and plan accordingly. Consider discussing and strategizing with your team and deciding which tasks are the most beneficial to your long-term productivity goals. You may even want to rank them from most to least important. The everyday tasks and projects you assign to your team should align with your long-term vision.
5. Be transparent.
As you cultivate an atmosphere of trust and camaraderie, your employees will feel comfortable, engaged and excited to contribute to the shared mission of the company. After all, you don’t want your employees and team members to work hard for you, you want them to work hard for them and because they believe in the vision of the company. That’s when you’ll see that they’re happy, passionate and striving to improve.
Remember to get to know your employees on a personal level and help them see the bigger picture through full transparency. Ensure that they’re comfortable with you and their team and that everyone is having fun — which often means sacrificing some short-term productivity. There’s always time to spend with your team outside of work if it means empowering them and making them feel like a critical part of your team. This will ensure not only long-term employees, but also long-term productivity and happiness.
December 28, 2018 at 08:11AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs