Managing a team of employees can be a roller coaster ride for executives and management staff. Even though everyone is ostensibly working toward the same goal, the mixture of personality types, work habits and backgrounds that are inevitable in any office environment means that management needs to approach each situation differently depending on the people involved.
Some workers are thorough and methodical, others may attempt to take on multiple tasks at once and keep several plates spinning. Knowing how to get the most out of your team is a process of understanding how each type of employee operates and, more importantly, how to best use their specific skills and traits to maximum advantage.
Define productivity for everybody …
Everyone knows that employers want their staff to be productive, but without any sense of measurement it can be hard to determine exactly what that means. Despite the fact that every employee may have different strengths and weaknesses or even different specific goals based on their position, it’s important for management to clearly outline what each worker’s goal should be. Many employers are doing this by implementing learning management systems. Employees who don’t have clearly defined targets to shoot for in turn don’t know how to measure their performance – or lack thereof. In many instances, these goals can take the place of hard data, like key performance indicators or a specific quota that needs to be hit.
Even if this isn’t the case, be sure to hold regular meetings or one-on-ones with employees whom you feel need a bit more direction. Establishing goals and providing feedback as to a worker’s performance toward that target can be invaluable.
… But know how everyone is different
Managers who set the same goals and define the same processes for all employees across the board are just as likely to be disappointed as those who don’t lay out any targets at all. Your staff is comprised of workers who approach the same task with different methods – in fact this diversity of ideas is why you hired them in the first place. part of being a good manager is knowing when to step back and let employees work in the way that they are best suited to.
For example, Inc. magazine highlighted just a few examples of diversity in a task as simple as reading emails. The source pointed out that some people are “speed readers,” priding themselves on their multitasking ability and quick response time, while others are slower and more methodical, maybe taking longer to complete a task but ensuring that every “i” has been dotted and every “t” has been crossed.
Of course, just as every type of employee has his or her strengths, there are weaknesses associated with each perspective as well. Your job as manager is to balance the two – offering your staff the leeway they need to work in their most effective way while ensuring that they don’t fall victim to some of their own inherent shortcomings.
Encourage universal productivity habits
If you want to bring out the best in all your employees, it helps to cultivate an atmosphere in the office that’s conducive to productivity and creativity. Encourage healthy work habits and drive the points home with your training software when you bring on new hires. There are even little things you can do around the office to improve the environment. Inc. magazine noted the importance of finding the right office temperature – cooler environments tend to foster more productivity than warmer ones, the source noted. Even providing workers with access to coffee and a basket of fresh fruit can ensure that they’re equipped with everything they need to get a head start on the day.