At times, we ask ourselves, what can we do to be more productive at work? As you journey closer to being a more effective team leader, the next step may not be a monumental new management or leadership theory. It could be as simple as finding ways for your team to be more creative and effective at work. Creative team members are tremendously valuable to any organization.
So, let’s examine a few easy and low stress ideas that could increase your team’s productivity.
- Professional Priorities – Have you asked your team members what their professional priorities are? It is obvious that we must execute our assignments, but beyond that each team member has or should have some personal and professional goals. If you know what your team members’ personal or professional priorities are, you may be able to suggest or provide an opportunity for that person to get some exposure in the area of their choice. Again, we must get the work done. However, most team members could possibly feel more motivated if they know that to the extent possible, their team leader has their personal and professional priorities in mind.
- Generate new ideas – Consider developing a “brain storming” session where team members are encouraged to share their ideas. If some team members are shy about openly sharing their ideas, perhaps you can try to anonymize the process by encouraging written submissions to be discussed by the entire team. This helps the team members to feel a deeper connection with the organization as well as the team. You could also ask team members to email or send a note when they have an idea and let them know that you are willing to listen. This type of open communication tends to promote a risk free flow of ideas within your team.
- Seating arrangements – Seating arrangements are another way in which you can facilitate the free flow of ideas within your team. It could also be worth the effort to ask the team to brainstorm seating or work station arrangements. Of course, there may be some physical factors that must be considered along with any suggestions. Team leaders that want to take their teams to the next must constantly seek ways to draw out the creativity of each team member. Often, some of the ideas you implement do not add cost or bureaucratic effort to the organization. You never know when a simple idea could morph into the next new product or service that could lead to more productivity and job satisfaction.
- Email – Email is so important that most of us are logged in all day. However, one suggestion that could allow your team members to be more focused is to allow, where possible, the silencing of audible notifications. The reason is that an audible notification interrupts concentration and initiates a “Pavlovian” response that requires checking your email every few minutes. If possible, it could be helpful to let others know that you check email at certain times and will respond within a certain time limit but if the issue is urgent to call you. The nature of each organization’s business will dictate the extent that you can implement this suggestion.
- Meetings – All of us have been invited to attend various meetings. Some of these are necessary but others are not. Check to determine if you are simply on a distribution list from other completed projects. Depending on your organization policy, you may be able to as a team members to attend in your absence or to request a copy of the official minutes and action assignments. If the meeting notification is merely an update meeting, ask if you can provide your update in writing so you can keep your current project moving.
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