5 Productivity Blockers

Greg Elsey

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A manager can feel at a loss to understand what is lacking when productivity is low. What can be done to inspire hard working staff to be as productive as possible? Here are five things which block productivity, that a manager can take charge of.

  1. Feeling disconnected from management It’s said that no man is an island, and this is as true in the workplace as it is in our home life. When a worker feels alone, adrift in their job, without sufficient regular connection with management, they can lose motivation. Motivation is what keeps us at a project or task through to completion. An employee can feel unaccountable, and whatever conscientiousness they had when they started can fly out the window if they feel no connection with their manager. As a manager, what are you doing to stay connected with your staff? Are your efforts working, or could you do with a different perspective?

  2. Not having the requisite skills to do the job There are a lot of reasons an employee might not have the skills to do their job. From fudging the truth in a resume, being promoted for the wrong reasons, being one of those people who appear competent at anything until the rubber hits the road, or a simple lack of training. One member of staff who does not know what they are doing can demotivate everyone around them, directly effecting productivity. Are you certain that your staff have the skills that fit their roles? Is it possible that incompetence plays a part in lowering productivity in your workplace?

  3. Management providing unclear instructions – In the rush of daily work life, managers can sometimes give only the bare bones in the way of instructions, to maybe hurry things along. Other times a more general, big picture is given where specific instructions are needed, even if time is short. Knowing a job and teaching it competently are two different things and this can also have an impact on what instructions a manager is able to give. Assumed knowledge is another way that management can miss signs that staff need very clear instructions in order to be productive. As you interact with staff this week, ask yourself whether each person has all of the information they need for their role.

  4. Unresolved interpersonal conflict - People sometimes ignore interpersonal conflict at work until it becomes unbearable, causing them to leave. Good interpersonal skills are something that most employers will look for when hiring, but the ability to give a great interview can be mistaken for good general, everyday interpersonal skills in the workplace. A manager needs to keep an eye on the emotional barometer in their department and have a good eye for the difference between simple disagreements and growing storms. Conflicted interpersonal relationships can lead to avoidance of work areas, people, tasks, and can be an all-round productivity nightmare. How good is your eye for truly problematic conflict? Do you approach or avoid trouble?

  5. Feeling unappreciated - We all need to be appreciated. Most of us have the maturity to work long and hard without constant approval, but it’s simply a human need to receive written or spoken confirmation that we’re performing as expected or above and beyond what we’re expected to achieve. On an average day, a manager will have fires to put out, tasks to attend to, meetings to run, and they would do well to show their appreciation for work well done. Naturally there’s a time and a place for a formal thankyou for a particularly good effort, but the manager can give a thank you, well done, keep up the good work, we really need you, and it can make a huge difference in someone’s day. It can mean the difference between enthusiasm for the task or apathy. Are you comfortable and accustomed to showing your appreciation at work? Could you do with some guidance around specific ways to show appreciation that can improve job satisfaction with the goal of increased productivity?

No matter what industry you’re in, most people need these five things to make their job worth doing. If you can see yourself in this post, maybe you recognise something about your management style that you would like to improve, contact me and we’ll inject some fresh perspective into your role and help you deliver above and beyond what’s expected of you.

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