David Campbell is a digital marketing specialist at Ramp Ventures. He helps manage the content marketing team at Right Inbox. When he's not working, he enjoys traveling and trying to learn Spanish.
Pub: March 3 2022
Upd: May 17 2022
It’s been said multiple times that productivity is critical when you want to complete tasks effectively. However, keeping a team productive is never easy, even if it's five people.
Why? You’re dealing with multiple people who have contrasting characters. These differences often lead to clashes that derail the team’s productivity.
But you have no option as a manager. You must get a solution to keep your team’s performance at its peak. So, if you’re looking for ways to achieve this result, you’re in the right place. Let’s get started.
1. Be an Example
The ability to inspire your team goes beyond showcasing your strong worth ethic.
Aim at building trust, which surprisingly, is alien in today's employee-manager relationship. Research shows that 58% of workers trust strangers more than their bosses. However, you’ll break this barrier if you become a good role model.
To put your house in order, start by showing your team effective time management practices. Don’t set the reporting time at 9:00 am while you come an hour late.
Let your work ethic be evident to all. And this doesn’t mean filing your working desk with a million files for your team to see that you’re hardworking.
It also goes back to your personality and how you handle issues. For example, Jordan Cohen, the vice president of talent development, learning, and enablement at MediaMath, said that if you’re stretched and overloaded, you can’t think strategically about your own time, let alone anyone else’s.
He further states that you need to model behavior that shows your team that you make time for the work that matters.
If you can change what you do to reflect positivity to your team, you’ll be a source of motivation to them. Your honesty, accountability, and commitment motivate your team because they view you as that elder sibling.
2. Clearly Define Everyone’s Task
Define tasks and set goals for everyone to avoid clashes and misdirection within your team.
There are a lot of benefits when you do this. Firstly, it strengthens your hiring process and helps save time and money. What’s more, your employees will be more engaged when their tasks and goals are clearly defined. They know exactly what they’re doing and what they’re working towards.
It also bolsters employee development which is a recipe for improved productivity. Therefore, achieving the goals of the organization is made possible.
Why? Everyone on the team knows what they’re supposed to do, when to do it, and how to tackle that task.
Now, the critical question is how to start defining roles.
The first thing to ask is why you created a position and the solution it offers. For example, if your company has a project manager and a content manager, distinguish their roles and figure out if both are needed in the first place.
The process lets you see any redundant posts with clashing duties. If you find one, move one employee to a different role or a department inundated with work. Remember to take into consideration not only the experience, attitude, and ideas of that employee, but also their personalities - there are different tasks suited for introverts, and completely different ones for extroverts.
Still, make sure you’ve kept the transferred team member within his professional career. You don’t want to send your sales representative to the PR department.
3. Give Your Team Members Ownership
Giving ownership isn’t similar to delegating tasks. While the latter brings sanity to your workflow, it doesn’t help much when your team isn’t 100% accountable.
When someone is given ownership, it means that you allow them to make critical decisions on a matter and run on with the project until it’s a success.
It encourages them to be more accountable. Plus, it cuts the time wastage experienced when multiple managers have to be involved in decision-making.
Giving ownership shows that you’re ready to let your team do their work without interruption. You trust your team and their capability to do their job successfully. You’ll realize the hidden potential in your employees that could have gone to waste.
4. Keep Your Email Management Intact
Professionals spend up to 28% of their working days on email. For a full-time worker in the US, that’s a whopping 2.6 hours every day.
That’s a lot of time spent on reading and replying to messages. The worst part? The task is tiresome.
Now get this, email management isn’t automating your Gmail system. You must first view your email as real work, understand the difference between processing and reviewing email, and finally apply workflow management to organize your communications.
This might seem like a lot of work, but it won’t be once you get used to it. Here are things you can do to manage your email.
- Avoid checking emails too often. You’ll be surprised by the answers you get when you ask your team how often they check their emails. Encourage them to divide the time of checking emails. Depending on their tasks, it can be after one hour, two, or four;
- Tell your team to stop multitasking when reviewing emails. Switching between important tasks leads to low focus at work;
- Use tools and extensions that can help you effectively manage your inbox. They can boost your email productivity and save you time on day-to-day tasks, like categorizing emails, sending email reminders, keeping track of running campaigns, etc.
- Ask your team to consider using their handheld devices when reviewing emails. Since the device is so small, it’s less tempting to get derailed by typing responses.
5. Make Use of Project Management Tools
As a manager, you keep up with changing goals. You manage a team with multiple tasks, and it’s tough to keep up all things together.
That’s what project management tools are built for. And thanks to Covid-19, no company can deny how these tools come in handy in their operation today. That’s why we’re witnessing a significant growth of companies adopting these softwares.
For example, Slack, a workplace communication tool, had 88,000 users at the onset of the pandemic in 2019. Fast forward to 2022, the company’s paying customers have grown 34 times. It’s now boasting 3 million paying users.
You have no choice but to join them since the tools have shown that they come in handy for effective work management. Not only that, but they also help in collaboration among your team members.
Let’s take an example of a project management tool like Trello. It helps you create boards and add members depending on the task you want them to complete.
After doing that, you add due dates for the task. The chat feature allows you to communicate with your team on a specific job. Your employees can also side chat to ask questions and collaborate on tasks.
We can also take an example of Hirebook. It improves employee management by bringing everyone together around shared goals aligned with your company’s vision. This makes your team super-focused in reaching goals.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to take time to explore different webinar platforms to assist with project management as well. Not only are these good for marketing purposes, but you can also use them to hold team calls when needed and with all of the remote working in the workforce, this has quickly become a necessity.
As you can see, there’s a lot of potential with project management. In some cases, you won’t have to hold organized meetings. And if you must, you’ll delve into serious issues as you’ve already tackled basic ones from the tool.
6. Give Feedback as Much as You Can
Communicating with your team doesn’t end at laying down the instructions for each role. You also want to give them feedback on the work they’ve done.
Feedback clarifies expectations and builds confidence. Plus, it helps develop a culture of trust between team members. They’ll know that you’re honest when you’re not biased in the way you handle everybody.
This means that you shouldn’t give positive feedback to one party and negative to another. It’s kind of these issues that give rise to office politics that run down productivity.
For most managers, positive feedback is easy. Finding the right words to express your gratitude is quick. And everyone loves it. Even a smile to show your appreciation is enough to build confidence and encourage someone.
On the other hand, giving negative feedback is a tad difficult. Everybody has that uneasy feeling when someone is too hard or harsh on them.
But still, being that “goody-goody” manager won’t mend an issue. Some tough love is vital to bring back your team on track and avoid compounding problems to something bigger.
7. Come up With A Rewarding Program
We have two types of employees: natural hard workers and those who have it within them but don’t see why they should work hard.
However, what’s shared with both teams is that they love to be appreciated. It’s until then that you’ll see how much they can work.
Giving a pat on the back is good. But it’s not good enough. 85% of employees feel more motivated when rewarded with incentives.
For example, you can give your team bonuses, free vouchers, extra time off, free vacations, and salary raises. And even better, you can promote the most hard-working ones.
Keeping your team productive shouldn’t be difficult. The highest performing teams have a set of rules which they follow religiously.
Plus, they have wise managers who are good at making decisions. Your team can one day be like them if you follow some of the tips we’ve shared.