Do you believe that productivity is synonymous with more work? If you spend a lot of hours focusing on one thing, does it mean you have been productive with it? Writer Charles Duhigg defines productivity as “making certain choices in certain ways” that moves us from being “merely busy” to “genuinely productive” in his book Smarter Faster Better. Tony Robbins also shares an approach to productivity that focuses on ways people can systematize and better manage their lives so they have more time to do what they want. I define productivity as simply managing our time as leaders, in a more strategic fashion to improve our performance level.
What do we then mistaken as productivity? Think back to a time when you were consistently busy and had no time to do anything else? People who saw your routine would immediately jump to the conclusion that you were productive. However, constantly moving through tasks, pushing deadlines and being seemingly trapped under a pile of duties that seems to grow each day is not necessarily productivity. Effective productivity does not have you scrambling for time to meet deadlines or constantly running behind on everything you need to get done in a day, week, month or year. It’s quite the contrary; you’ll probably be ahead of schedule.
Effective productivity leads to maximum performance and should not leave you worn out.
Productive performance should be learned as a soft skill. It isnot something you are born with but it is definitely something you can nurture. Anyone can learn to be a better and more effective leader. Great leadership is all about doing a handful of things with the members of your team, consistently and well.
Inc, provides us with 7 daily habits of exceptionally productive leaders.
- Set clear goals and expectations
All performance begins with clear goals and expectations. Every employee needs to know what is expected of them. The best goals are few in number and specific in focus, and they encourage people to stretch to achieve them. Not too difficult, not too simple, but somewhere in between.
- Involve your team in the decision-making process
The days of telling people what to do are over. No more “my way or the highway.” To be effective, managers and employees must work together collaboratively to determine the goals to be achieved, and the deadlines and milestones on the path to completion. Actively involve the members of your team in these decisions, and in their execution and implementation.
- Interact positively with the members of your team
Numerous studies point to the fact that the most important relationship for employees is the one they have with their immediate manager or supervisor. In a Gallup survey of more than 4 million workers, the no. 1 reason people left their jobs was because they did not feel appreciated. Due to the important role they play in the lives of their employees-both on and off the job-it is critical for leaders to foster positive interactions with their people rather than negative ones.
- Provide visibility to senior management
Although employees’ direct interactions with their direct managers have the greatest impact on motivation and performance, their interactions with an organization’s senior managers also have a significant impact. When a company’s senior team commits to their employees, the employees will respond in kind.
- Facilitate interactions with co-workers
Interactions with co-workers and team members can have a significant impact on employee engagement. In a survey conducted by the Gallup Journal, researchers found that 61 percent of engaged workers surveyed strongly agreed with the statement “I feed off the creativity of my colleagues.” Only 9 percent of actively disengaged employees agreed with the statement. These findings tend to indicate that engagement can be infectious-the more engaged employees are, the more they want to share their creativity and good ideas with others in the organization. Conversely, disengaged employees tend to check out when it comes to sharing their creativity and ideas with co-workers-creating a downward spiral of performance that can be difficult to overcome.
- Communicate and provide feedback
To be as effective as we can possibly be, our people need to know what our expectations are for them on the job, and how they are doing. Keep your employees in the company-information loop by customizing messages for each audience group, including senior leaders, front-line employees, and clients. Person-to-person communication is more important than ever. Leaders should visit employees on their own turf and conduct more frequent small-group and individual meetings to provide continued reassurance and coaching.
Being productive as a leader and adapting it to your team and business is crucial to the health and growth of your business.Here are 4 strategies to help leaders be more productive and inject the right productivity tools and habits into the business to impact your performance and that of your team’s performance as well.
Everything Corporate also adds that scheduling everything can help leaders be more productive. Rather than keep a To-Do list that can constantly get kicked down the road, leaders and team players seeking to be more effective must choose a deadline for completion and put each step on the calendar. It has been recommended that one starts with regular commitments, followed by high-priority activities.
Each task can then be broken down into incremental steps. As an example, the head of a ales team looking to increase sales by say 50% will need to list the very specific steps that need completition to achieve this goal. For the head of sales to meet his goal, he can also add to his calendar appointments for regular updates with his team. Besides meeting with potential customers, you’ll need to schedule time to create presentations and do follow-up calls. The more things you break down and put on your calendar, the more productive you will be.
Lastly mitigate distractions. “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent, and not enough time on what is important,” said business productivity expert Steven Covey. It’s so easy to get caught up with all the distractions that come up every day. For example, the average person receives 126 business emails every day. It’s tempting to spend all day going through them and responding. Resist the temptation!
- Challenge the Status quo.
Strategic leaders are constantly challenging the status quo. Is there a more-efficient way to complete a particular task? What could be changed to increase team unity and trust? As leaders we must be open-minded and welcome conflicting viewpoints, even if the viewpoint being questioned is our own. If we want to develop our capacity to challenge preconceived notions, we must focus on the causes of an issue instead of the symptoms. We must make a list of our company’s established assumptions and think about them critically. We must also encourage debate and differences of opinion, and be sure people know in advance that it is the expectation.
- Be Malleable.
As leaders we must strategically promote an inquisitive workplace culture. We must search for lessons in successes and failures alike, and not be afraid to question long-held beliefs or practices. The ability to be self-critical is essential. Thus, we must review all major decisions and document whether they were successful or not. Be transparent about our discoveries. Laud employees when they bravely try something new, even if it ends up flopping. Conduct regular reviews and audits to see which departments are not producing as they should, and seek out the causes.
- Clearly Define Expectations.
Before we can leverage any other way to improve our productivity and that of our team, we must absolutely make our expectations clear. When our expectations and our employee expectations go awry, the ramifications can be numerous and extreme.Certain team members may be falling short of their productivity goals simply because they do not know what those goals are. Do not assume they do. Instead, be as specific as possible about what they are expected to do, from daily to monthly goals. The important thing is that these goals should come with objective descriptions.
- Develop standard processes for projects.
- As leaders, project processes are important investments for us and our team’s productivity. We do not want people reinventing the wheel every time they take on a new project. This is not just inefficient, it also increases the likelihood that the project will not be successful. We must create templates for regular projects. Details here are extremely important. You want to eliminate opportunities for a staff member to introduce any amount of variability.
While you need definite processes, it is also wise to accept suggestions for refining them. This will ensure they continue to improve as time goes on.
As leaders, we must be sensitive about how we deal with productivity because it can spell the demise of our business. By inculcating these strategies, we can leverage our productivity to ensure maximum performance. Remember that the most successful leaders employ a combination of soft and hard skills that allow them to efficiently balance their team’s growing payload of responsibilities and priorities.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group & Allure Africa.
She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017. She has also been featured on CNN.
She can be reached on [email protected] and @dzigbordikwaku across all social media platforms.