As a leader, one of your main responsibilities is to ensure the work gets done, the goals are met, and your customers are served.
In a sizeable operation, this means you need help from your team!
But what if your team isn’t delivering?
Your natural inclination may be to “push harder” because your natural assumption is laziness. If that is the case, then pushing is, indeed, the needed approach. If you have a strong-willed employee who will rise to meet a challenge, they also may respond well to this type of leadership.
But in most cases, pushing is not necessary; in fact, it can have the opposite of its intended effect. Knowing when to push, and when not to push, is a major leadership factor in business.
What can you do to optimize productivity?
1. Assess the situation.
Ask yourself or your employee why the work is not being done. There may be mitigating factors, and those can be addressed.
There are times when lack of productivity is a character issue, and that would need to be addressed as such; but often, there are other factors that are entirely fixable. Without some of these being addressed, no amount of pushing on your part or character on their part will bridge the gap.
- Is the employee working within his or her strengths zone?
- Is it because they are not working or because they are working too much?
- Is the vision clear?
- Are the goals defined?
- Are the timelines reasonable?
- Are your expectations reasonable?
- Do they need more help?
- Do they have the tools they need?
- Do they have the training they need?
2. Care about your people.
John C. Maxwell says, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
In a similar vein, people don’t care how much you want until they know how much you care.
If you have a good relationship with the people on your team – if you care – they will reciprocate by caring about the work. Leaders with loyal teams are highly productive.
3. Take responsibility.
Several years ago, there was a corporation whose leadership began to play “the blame game.”
“It’s the economy.”
“It’s the employees.”
“It’s the regulations.”
“It’s the consumer.”
They blamed everything from the government to the employee to the consumer, but they failed to take responsibility for their own decisions and actions.
When shown the abysmal numbers, the CEO said, “What do you expect me to do about it?”
Needless to say, that company no longer exists. But the portions of it that were sold off and administered under new leadership thrived…despite the economy, with the same employees, under the same regulations, and serving the same consumer base.
It was clearly a leadership issue.
As leaders, we sometimes need to turn the “push” on ourselves. If your company productivity isn’t what it should be, ask yourself some hard questions, and take responsibility for making it work. Instead of pushing your team, push yourself to get to the root cause, and fix the problem.
The bottom line is, as a leader, there are times you need to push hard. There are also times when YOU should NOT push hard, but instead voice your expectation of your team when they need to. A good leader will reach into their toolbox to find the right leadership style needed in the moment.
To learn more about your individual or team strengths and how you can use them to generate greater results in your organization, contact Deb Ingino.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.