It’s another day at the office. Your team is gearing up to face the mountain of tasks they have before them. But the majority of the group is barely keeping their heads above water. Yet another project is stuck in the pipeline, plagued by round after round of delays. Other assignments are piling up fast, and your team’s staying hours of overtime won’t be the cure.
So, as their leader, what can you do? Productivity is obviously not at its peak. While the group has plenty to do, they’re not moving tasks along like they should. Improving your team’s ability to check off their to-do lists in the time they have is paramount to success. Keep reading to explore tips on how to help them do it.
Give Them a Proper Toolbox for Communication
Teams accomplish milestones together. If they’re not in sync, this is when projects fall by the wayside. Even individual responsibilities can become held up if reliable communication isn’t there. Employees will spin their wheels or “work” on everything but work.
But while good communication begins with conversations, it doesn’t end there. Teams need clarity, a shared goal, and centralized tools. Without these elements, the likelihood of misunderstandings increases. A group might be a single unit, but each contributor has distinct ways of explaining, interpreting, and digesting information.
Tools like a project management app and screen recorder can do wonders in establishing a single source of truth. Say an engineer is trying to explain a new complex process. Instead of losing someone in a bunch of technical jargon, they can lay out the steps with screenshots.
Everyone can see the process rather than making up images in their heads. The message gets across more smoothly and accurately, ensuring the entire group is clear on how to proceed. They also have a reference to go back to in case they forget the details.
Define Each Person’s Part in the Play
Projects can easily go sideways if team members aren’t clear about their roles. Role ambiguity occurs when people aren’t sure what their jobs are. It can come from an unclear job description, a lack of direction, and uncertainty about individual responsibilities.
One of the unwanted effects of role ambiguity is a drop in productivity. The decline happens because team members aren’t sure what they should and can do. This lack of clarity becomes a source of stress and demotivation.
Think how you’d feel if you worked diligently on a task only to find out your co-worker did the same. Next time, you’d probably hold back, wondering whether you should proceed. The same might happen if no one’s given clear direction on who’s responsible for what. If job roles aren’t defined, the lack of structure gets in the way.
To keep productivity on track, ensure everyone knows where they stand. Explain the roles of each contributor, including where their responsibilities start and end. Individual team members should also be clear on their authority level, including when to hand off tasks and to whom.
Delegate According to Each Person’s Strengths
There’s a fine line between providing guidance and taking over. When leaders insert themselves into their employees’ work, it kills productivity. Why? Because it strips ownership and accountability from the group.
It also communicates a lack of trust in the team’s abilities. As a result, employees learn they can’t take initiative. They become tethered to your opinion, expecting you to always pick up the ball. Ambition drops, along with productivity.
A micromanagement leadership style causes unnecessary delays due to an obsession with insignificant details. The work is never good enough, so something always needs to be changed. In addition, micromanagers don’t delegate effectively. They don’t play to their team members’ strengths because of an unfounded belief they can perform the task better.
The manager becomes overloaded while the team sits around waiting for something to do. By delegating tasks, you’re showing your confidence and trust in employees’ skills. Giving overall direction and letting the team take the reins accomplishes more than taking over. The group exercises its skills with increased motivation to shine.
Practice Working in Time Blocks
Competing tasks can make employees feel overwhelmed. Productivity declines because their brains become overworked. Some people might step away and shut down. Others may focus on only the high-priority items while neglecting those lower on the totem pole.
Neither approach is effective in the long run. Inevitably, lower-priority assignments become dumpster fires if left untouched. Introducing your team to time blocking can help address all priorities evenly. Time blocking may also give employees a sense of accomplishment.
With this technique, teams dedicate a certain amount of time to specific tasks. For example, they brainstorm for two hours in the morning with a hard stop at 10 a.m. From there, they return emails and phone calls for an hour. Afterward, they work on project-related assignments for three hours. You get the idea.
Time blocking helps the workday feel more manageable. It breaks it down into bite-sized chunks, providing an easy-to-understand time management structure. Employees have a tangible means of managing their workload, resulting in less stress.
Supercharging Team Productivity
Keeping a team on task isn’t always as simple as it looks. Achieving high levels of productivity requires effective leadership and time management methods. Communication tools, clear directives, delegation practices, and time-blocking techniques can get you there.