"How to become a more productive manager" is a question everyone SHOULD be asking, but not everyone does. If you aren't asking this, you are entering the land of mediocrity. Mediocrity stems from a lack in continued drive to further oneself and when it comes to being a manager, this hurts your organization, your team, and can stagnate any progress in your career.
“Just do it.” – Nike. This is only a partial truth. There’s a level of planning and preparation involved with effective and productive management. Below are questions to help you increase productivity, both personally and for your team.
1. What three things will I accomplish today?
Even great managers can fall into the trap of thinking only of their teams and not of personal productivity. Begin each day with the end (of the day) in mind. What are three things which much be accomplished before you go home? When possible, do these three things first or add them as blocked out times on your calendar.
Then look at what you won’t do today. Make a conscious effort to avoid distractions which can eat up your day and leave you with the, “what did I do today,” feeling. Watch out for the clear attraction to doing things you enjoy instead of the things which must be done. Save things you like to do as a reward for accomplishing vital tasks.
2. What will I delegate today?
Effective delegation is one of the best and yet most underutilized tools in a manager’s belt. Many fall into patterns of holding onto tasks that your direct reports could do, simply because you believe it will be easier or faster if you do them.
Delegating allows you to focus on what matters most and provides growth and development opportunities for your team. Give your team clear success metrics and goals, explain how the task fits into the bigger picture of what you’re trying to accomplish, and let them know that you trust them. Successful delegation lightens your workload and lets your direct reports know that you value and trust them to get the job done.
3. How will I make a positive difference in my direct reports’ lives today?
This one question evolves rapidly into a series of questions: What can you do for each of your reports that will set them up for success? Who needs support? Encouragement? An ear? A challenge? Constructive feedback? New skill development? Think specifically about each member of your team and how you can help them today.
After identifying at least one specific action you can take to help every member of your team, be intentional about finding time necessary to follow through. You don’t need to find world changing actions, 15 minutes just listening can make someone’s day and enable them to refocus on the tasks they have to get done.
Ask these questions and take the outlined steps and your team will hit new levels of productivity.