The holoidays are over and the old routine beckons. Getting back to the grindstone and the usual frustrations of office life can be unsettling, especially when people have had the opportunity to reflect on their lot. How can you help your team settle back in and feel more enthused about work?
First, it’s important to recognise the daily frustrations that many face – and how much more irritating they can seem after time out. Technology may have helped increase the speed and efficiency of office communication, but the deluge of emails in particular brings untold pressures and distractions from completing the important work of the day. And the build-up after a holiday can be very demoralising.
Add to that the fact that many people feel unappreciated and unable to make much of a difference anyway – especially in our large and growing global organisations. It’s easy to feel the frustration of being a small cog in a large wheel. And that situation isn’t helped when unreasonable goals are set by management, or frustrating and time-consuming processes are introduced.
A global Gallup study of 27m employees and 2.5m places of employment over the past two decades showed that just 13 per cent of employees feel properly engaged at work. It estimated that managers account for at least 70 per cent of the variance in employee engagement across businesses, so there is plenty of scope to make a difference.
How much of your team do you think is happy and fired up at work? If you are a manager, you can do your bit to create a happier team that is more engaged and enthusiastic about what they do. Here’s a reminder of the straightforward management techniques that can go a long way.
1. Help team members to prioritise their work and cut out unnecessary distractions from unwanted emails and web communications. Suggest they get rid of non-essential information alerts, and focus on what’s important.
2. Adopt a more collaborative environment where team members can contribute their knowledge and ideas more frequently. This could involve helping on a range of things, from addressing workplace issues to delivering assignments. It’s motivating for everyone, and surprisingly effective in producing creative and practical solutions.
3. Relax your management style. Traditional “command and control” management often creates resentment, especially among knowledge workers. Some of our most inspiring leaders have learned the importance of empowerment over control, and a sympathetic ear goes a long way.
4. Where processes are found to be frustrating or flawed, make it your responsibility to feed through any frustrations and suggested improvements to senior managers, and follow through to check what action is being taken.
5. Be supportive. Have an open door policy so your team know that you’re there to help if they run into problems and need some advice.
6. Ensure your team members know when they’ve done a good job. Everyone likes to be praised and appreciated, and it’s a good motivator. Catch them doing something right, rather than only focusing on the problems.
Transformation within an organisation is most effective when driven from the top, with senior leaders committed to change. However, many leaders have been inspired by effective managers at different levels. A happy and effective team is a productive one – and one that gets noticed for the impressive results it can generate.