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If you think keeping yourself productive is a challenge, just try keeping an entire team productive.
On top of managing various temperaments, you also have to discover what motivates each individual team member. You'll want to be able to align their goals with yours. Yeah -- it’s not for the faint of heart.
To be productive and liked are not paradoxical intentions. The good news is that it is not impossible to have your team love you -- and still get everything done. You don't have to be the task-master, the ogre -- and well -- the noxious festering splinter in your teams backside.
Try following these 12 productivity habits. When you do -- you can be certain that your team won’t just love you -- you’ll also get everything out of your employees on a daily basis.
1. Set crystal clear priorities, goals and expectations.
Each and every one of your team members should know exactly what tasks they should be working on. Additionally -- they should be aware of the priority of each task, as well as what’s expected of them.
You don’t want them to work on a less important task that could have been completed later. That means that the more important task has been pushed aside. You can’t blame your team member if they didn’t know this information.
When it comes to goal setting you only want to focus on just a few specific goals that aren’t too difficult or simple to achieve.
Related: The Ivy Lee Method: The Daily Routine for Peak Productivity
2. Give your team ownership.
While there numerous ways for you to motivate your employees -- nothing beats encouraging ownership. In fact, studies have found that when employees have more autonomy at work, they’re more satisfied. This in turn creates less turnover and higher engagement.
If you want encouraging ownership within your organization, here are a couple tips on getting started:
Start with the why: This simply means letting your team know why the work they’re doing is important.
Allow your team to speak-up: Ask for feedback and input from your team on the projects that they’re working on.
Let them choose how: Let your team figure out how to solve problems on their own and work however they prefer.
Build trust: This means listening to your team and not commanding them, but guiding them.
Hold them accountable: Remind your team when important deadlines are approaching and check-in to see how they’re progressing.
Delegate effectively: Assign the right people for the right tasks and give them the proper tools and resources to succeed.
3. Involve your team in the decision making process.
If you want to get the most out of your team -- ditch the: “It’s my way or the highway” mentality. As perfectly explained in an Outside In Management article: “Your team is at the heart of your business. They’re usually the ones that are dealing with your customers on a daily basis as well as knowing how internal processes work like the back of their hand.
Your team may actually know more about your customers than you do.
"They know what customers really think of your products and services and they will undoubtedly have their own opinions on many areas of the business and its processes.”
It makes sense that your team should be making decisions that can improve your business. Just make sure that they’re also involved in the execution and implementation of these decisions.
Related: 4 Ways to Guide Your Employees Toward Empowered Decisions
4. Be aware of your team’s strengths and weaknesses.
We all have hidden talents. When you get to know which talents your team members possess, you can then find opportunities for them to put their skills and expertise to good use.
Who likes to do what on your team? What task is detested?
If you have a team member who enjoys writing, -- then ask if they would be interested in writing blog posts for your website. Not only does this let them use their talent and passion -- having this additional responsibility makes them feel more empowered.
Just don’t ask them to take on this extra work if they’re already swamped.
At the same time, you also want to be aware of each team members weaknesses. If someone isn’t strong at math, then it wouldn't make sense to assign them any accounting tasks. Besides not being skilled enough to properly do this job, if they struggle at it, they’ll be less motivated to give it their all.
5. Avoid unnecessary meetings.
Meetings can be a huge time-wasters. That’s why your team loathes them. Instead of sitting in a pointless meeting for an hour or so -- a team can be working on something more productive. It would not be unheard of for you to -- you know -- do something fun. On average, professionals waste four hours per week in unproductive meetings .
Sadly, we all have to endure meetings. Keep them as painless as possible.
Some meetings are necessary. Prepare and plan before your next meeting. Make sure that the meeting isn't something that could have been addressed via email, Slack, or conference call. If the meeting is a must -- prepare an agenda with a clear purpose -- and send it to participants in advance so that they can prepare.
Related: Too Many Meetings Suffocate Productivity and Morale
6. Build camaraderie.
When your team members feel connected to each other they’ll feel more motivated to collaborate and work with one another. You can do this by building camaraderie through team-building activities.
Figure out activities for your team -- it's not that hard. Most team members will take their turn at making the plans.
Examples include after-work happy hours, eating lunch together, taking a class together, or playing sports or games.
Creativity -- it's your bonus -- when your build great team camaraderie.
As an added perk, when you establish camaraderie, you’ll increase your team’s creativity -- problem solving and communication skills. Best of all, it also gives your team to relax and have some fun together.
7. Create a positive work environment.
Studies have found that the physical environment of a workplace can greatly affect how employees think, feel, and perform. Make sure that your workspace is conducive to productivity.
Comfort -- and that doesn't just mean the furniture. Positivity is almost everything.
Start with providing comfortable and ergonomic furniture, incorporating bright lightening, bringing-in plants, and letting your team decorate their individual spaces how they like.
HEY TEAM -- leave your negativity home. Toxic Ted and Tina -- go home...
Besides the physical workspace -- make sure that you create an environment that is fun and happy. This means removing toxic elements, like bullying and gossip. Encourage positive reinforcement between all members on the team.
When was the last time you were actually grateful? Gratitude, and random acts of kindness will help and build your team. I’ve also found that celebrating together, like celebrating birthdays and sharing wins at the start of a meeting -- are also effective ways in creating a positive work environment.
Related: 5 Powerful Ways to Give Thanks to Your People
8. Provide constructive feedback.
If your team doesn’t know how they’re performing -- how can you expect to get the most out of them? That’s why you need to provide constructive feedback. This gives your team a chance to see how they’re doing and what actions they should take to improve. If some team members need more help than others, provide them with coaching or training opportunities.
You don't have to provide your helpful hints during the team lunch. The "my-brag-about-you" is great for team building.
Ideally, this should be done one-on-one so that the team member doesn’t feel embarrassed. However, when a team member goes above and beyond -- don’t hesitate in giving them a shout out during the next team meeting or company newsletter.
9. Use a project management system.
Using a project management system allows you to assign tasks, track your team’s progress, and communicate with your team without flooding their inboxes. If you use a project management system, such as Trello, Basecamp, Wrike, or ProofHub, with your calendar you can also:
- Assign tasks with deadlines and due dates.
- Eliminate distractions since you’re avoiding email as much.
- Create notes for an upcoming meeting to keep it short and focused.
- Batch similar tasks together and block out specific times for them.
10. Live by your values every day.
Your core values are you and your organization’s fundamental beliefs. If you don’t know what your core values are -- take a couple of minutes to really think about what your beliefs are. This way you can live by them each and every day so that you have direction -- construct a healthy company culture, and add meaning to everyone’s work.
Need inspiration? Here are Ferrari’s values are:
- Individual and team
- Tradition and innovation
- Passion and excellence
11. Provide incentives.
It’s been found that when offered incentives, 85 percent of employees feel more motivated to do their best work.
What incentives should you offer? The most obvious would be monetary incentives, such as paying your team a competitive salary and bonuses. You could also provide flexible schedules, timely promotions, opportunities to learn or enhance skills, and even just a good ol’ pat on the back. Millennials , in particular, are also looking for ways to support their communities. Consider offering volunteering or fundraising opportunities for local causes your team cares about.
I’d also suggest that you get to know other incentives that your team cares about. For example, if a majority of your team are dog owners, then you could allow them to bring their dogs into work . Doing so reduces stress and absenteeism, while also improving morale and productivity.
12. Encourage simple reflection.
It’s actually been found that if you and your team all stop working 15-minutes before leaving work for the day or unplugging and reflecting on what you’ve learned, you can increase everyone’s productivity by 20 percent.
Codifying -- and teaching self-care for a healthier team.
That may sound counterproductive, but by implementing this 15-minute habit you and your team have chance to notice patterns for working smarter and not harder. This is because you’re doing something called “codifying.” In psychology, this means translating practical experiences into practical wisdom. This allows you remember what worked and what didn’t so that you can incorporate it into your workflow.
Also, because this allows you and your team to notice your own personal progress -- you’ll become more confident and motivated to keep plowing ahead.