Tips For More Productive Employees

Posted: April 25, 2014

So much of how well your team of employees performs has to do with you. Maybe you thought that hiring the best people you could, paying them as well as you can, and making sure they’re doing what you’re saying is enough. But how efficient are they, really? Are you doing enough?

To help you on your path to better management, here are ten essential tips for getting your employees to be more productive, from Jane Murphy’s book “What Could Happen if You Do Nothing: A Manager’s Handbook for Coaching Conversations”.

  • Know them: People are more than a resume. Take the time to get to know your people-their values, their interests, their capabilities, their challenges and aspirations. You can discover untapped skills and abilities. They can air any unaddressed concerns. People will feel better understood and appreciated.
  • Develop them: Offer opportunities at work for your people to grow. There are many ways you can tap into their potential: coaching, skills workshops, courses, shadowing, mentoring, increasing responsibility. Encourage them to step up.
  • Communicate clearly, early, and often: Be clear about your expectations of them. Wherever possible, keep people informed about the whole business, and particularly about anything that impacts their jobs. Walk the talk. If you expect honesty and openness from them, model that in the way you communicate with them.
  • Inspire them: You’re the architect. Communicate a clear vision of where you want to go as a team, and talk about how to get there. Invite collaboration and participation. Introduce opportunities to solve problems together. Encourage risk taking, and acknowledge that failure is a by-product of innovative thinking. Live the values and mission you’ve articulated for your group and for the business. Give people room to think and contribute. Then step out of the way and let them perform.
  • Recognize performance: When you celebrate accomplishments, you demonstrate you care about them. Acknowledge and offer feedback (once a week at a minimum and every 6 months regarding overall progress). Try to ensure that they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day, and remind them that their jobs are important.
  • Request feedback for yourself, demonstrate humility: Demonstrate your willingness to grow and change along with them. A critical piece of information for you is to what degree you are helping them get their jobs done…not getting in their way. Ask…and let them know their opinions matter.
  • Establish SMART goals: Whether for their individual job performance or for ongoing project milestones, set goals that are “SMART” (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely). SMART goals are critical to delivering quality and successful results.
  • Listen well: Active listening is a valuable skill. Follow the other person’s thinking and enable them to hear themselves. Go beyond the words being said to what isn’t said. Listen to how something is said. Doing this can offer real insight.
  • Offer them the support they need: Ensure they have the resources needed (time, people, budget, training) to do their work effectively.
  • Acquire/enhance your coaching skills: Being present, listening well, and asking open-ended questions are critical coaching skills. Incorporating these into your managing style will reflect your leadership, your investment in your people, and will ensure a strong footing for successful relationships.