How to Eliminate the Whirlwind & Increase Productivity

 In Business Success, Leadership, Leadership Development, Performance Management, Rick Conlow

Many managers harp on the all-too-disorderly whirlwind way of doing business these days. Today, with many employees working remote, we are expected to always be accessible. So, we are in constant contact with others and typically, we are expected to be “on” all the time. If we do not respond to an email, text or check-in within a certain time, we know we will get a phone call. And well, we must answer that (even in the evenings or on the weekends or vacations) because if we do not… it is going to look like we are not hard workers. So, where do we draw the line? And what does all of this have to do with managing others? A LOT.

2 Considerations to Move from Whirlwind to Productivity

As a manager, even though you have a million things on your plate, it is your responsibility to know and understand what is occupying your team’s time. (No, this does not give you an excuse to micromanage.) Here are four considerations that may help.

  • Eliminating the Whirlwind & Increasing ProductivityMost Importantly, you cannot truly help your team if you do not have a clue what is consuming their calendars. As a manager, one of your responsibilities is to remove obstacles and barriers – and an uncomplicated way to do this is to “trim the fat” off your team’s schedule. Identify the meetings that can be eliminated, take tasks that you ought to tackle, and shift things around that make sense. Talk to your team members individually. Do a series of team planning meetings. Clarify roles, goals, and expectations. Discuss ways to avoid redundancies, delegate where you can and use team activities to get more things done. Track how as a team you are spending time. (see this assessment by HBR) Ask, what can we learn? These kinds of conversations with your team alleviates the pressure build up and often generates creative ways to be more effective.
  • Furthermore, your ability to recognize team members for their contributions depends on your awareness of the details. One of the main employee frustrations described in engagement surveys is that managers do not know or recognize them for the hard work they do. So, get enough information to award and affirm your team regularly. See this for more idea’s recognition-employees crave recognition.

2 More Considerations to Move from Whirlwind to Productivity

  • In Addition, if you do not know, they will know. Case in point: have you (in your personal experience) ever received an email from a boss (late at night or on the weekend) that asks something of you, something so significant, that you leave your inbox thinking… do they even know what is on my plate right now? (This post is also not an excuse for employees to gripe or be idle.) Sometimes managers do not even know the whirlwind of their teams: deadlines, priorities, and stressors that their reports are facing, and so they do not consider the competing factors – they just consider what is convenient. So, do your best to balance your latest priorities with your team’s current challenges. So, take the time to engage your team on an on-going basis. Be involved and accessible.
  • Finally, remember to coach all employees one on one regularly. This will help you focus them and you on priorities. You will also gain a dialogue with good coaching that is invaluable for generating input and ideas that lead to better employee engagement. In addition, you will improve performance because of the clarity of expectations. But also, you will know what is happening with your team and how well it is happening. This puts you in a better position to proactively deal with problems. See this brief training video: 5 Superstar Coaching Steps.

Pulling It All Together

Overall, it is important to keep a gauge on how overwhelmed your team is feeling. If you do not have any idea what is keeping them busy, you cannot help them make the most of their time. And that is the point: it all comes down to productivity. By considering the above and taking the appropriate action steps, you are helping your team members increase their performance, which inevitably will translate into more success for them and you! As summary, think of this quote by Golda Meir, “I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.”

Eliminating the Whirlwind & Increasing ProductivityAlso, are you committed to your team’s success? If so, see this complimentary Coaching for Results eBook.

In addition, go here for our RealTime Learning & Training leadership and personal development website. Over 130 micro-learning and career development resources at your fingertips!

Finally, do you want to accelerate your leadership success? Go here for Rick’s Superstar Leadership eBook.


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  • Patrick Loke

    I have worked in small to large organizations before and my observation is that the larger the organizations, the more bureaucracies, and internal politics come into play. These unwanted internal politics can be time wasters and cause much of the unproductivity.

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