“Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.”
It was obvious for the late Stephen Hawking and many great achievers in the past, but is it still true for most of us? There must be something in our daily work routines that makes us feel better about ourselves. And it must be a bit more than the trivial fleshpots of Egypt — a self-pleasing ratio of our output to our input — that brings much desired satisfaction and success, and is commonly known as “productivity”. Individual and shared, productivity is essential for all entrepreneurial endeavors, for all businesses big or small.
So what does it take to be productive as a team? Are there ways to control it? In the end of the day it all boils down to good management.
Without doubt nothing is given so freely as advice. So for those who enjoy slaying boredom and hate killing time here are some tips on how to kill your employees’ productivity (instead of effectively killing proverbial birds with stones):
1. Distracting factors help
Open space offices andnoise pollution are things we’ve long been living with happily. Free communication and lack of hierarchy are well achieved when everyone is in the same room, sitting at the desks next to each other. They all can talk about their anxieties and problems and collaborate very loudly, leaving no chance for focused work.
Endless phone calls, bursts of sudden laughter, and constant door slams provide brilliant background noise turning your office space into the least comfortable workplace in the world. Who said that your colleague’s messenger signals are annoying?!
2. Run tons of useless meetings
Meetings are great if you have things to say, or they may be even greater if you don’t. You want to pass around minor plan updates, catch up on certain projects and give instructions to some of the team leads? Bring everyone in the office together and talk about things irrelevant for most, jumping from one topic to another and constantly interrupting everyone. Your employees will soon develop a great distaste for meetings that take a good portion of their work day, suck out their energy and leave less time for actual tasks.
3. Clear workflow – what a joke!
Chaos has never harmed anyone, it is the order that suppresses talent and creativity. Lack of streamlined work process helps your team do more in less time, given they choose things randomly, guided by their intuition and good spirit. Precise task descriptions are redundant, as they limit employees’ ability to think and express themselves freely. How on earth will they start thinking out of the box if you tell them exactly what they are supposed to do?! Productivity also drops dramatically if the team knows where the project is heading. Lower-level employees don’t need to see the big picture – it kills the thrill before the unknown.
4. Stop planning time
Time management is most certainly the old news these days. First of all, it is boring. Besides it does nothing for output growth. Who cares about deadlines and timesheets in rapidly changing environment we find ourselves in? We have to respond to challenges that pop up out of nowhere and make us forget about time estimates once and for all. Don’t even bother getting time-tracking software, tell your team what to do in real-time mode. Forget about delusional time planning that turns exciting tasks into tedious day-to-day routines.
5. More micromanagement
It is not a secret that micromanagement demonstrates good leadership. Be with your employees, guide them, teach them and lead them, make them fear and respect you. It will without doubt benefit their engagement and productivity, will build trust and ambition to succeed. Fear is truly the most powerful motivator known to man, it’s helped great rulers build empires, it will definitely aid your leadership and will boost performance of your team.
6. Never praise top performers
Some of your team are more productive than the others? Demotivate them. Control them at every little step, they need their manager’s support more than anyone else — failure awaits at every corner. Never talk to them about their work process, trying to understand how they’ve managed to get ahead of their colleagues. It is unhealthy to differ from the rest of the team. Stop noticing their achievements at once, there is nothing to acknowledge — just give them more tasks!
7. Say no to “one-on-one” meetings
There is nothing embarrassing in criticising an employee in pubic. They all are part of one team and there is nothing to hide. Transparency is the key (not just to democracy) but to healthy working environment in the office. Why would we have open-plan spaces otherwise? Don’t hesitate to tell team members off at their workplace, it is educational for the others and besides you invest your time well. All those talks in private are in the past, peers should learn from each other’s mistakes. No room for awkwardness and hurt feelings.
8. Sustain the gap
Never try to make friends with your employees. At all cost keep them at arm’s length. Make them feel miserable, they need it to work harder. Don’t analyse why some of them are leaving – you cannot tell what goes on in other people’s hearts and minds. Productivity only stems from strong management, detached from personal ties.
As we all know – it is the little things that matter most. Overall productivity levels are fully dependent on such little things. And it is in the hands of good leaders to enable their employees to show best results and more importantly to help them find purpose in life through work.
So, don’t kill time, make the right decisions and as Winston Churchill recommended: “If you are going through hell, keep going …”
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