As a leader, do you spend your time just thinking? Or doing? If you are just spending your time thinking, you are a dreamer. The dreams may be fabulous but if you don’t come down from the clouds and start taking action, nothing’s going to be achieved. On the other hand, if you just do, without thinking you may not be performing at the optimum level. The best way to increase your productivity as a leader is if you can have both a thinking mindset and a doing mindset.
Productivity and staff engagement go hand in hand. Bear in mind that productivity is not limited to just the people you lead. You, the leader, have to be productive too. No double standards, okay?
1. Team engagement and productivity
The more engaged your team is to the organisation the more productive they become. From my experience as a business and leadership strategist, one of the reasons why many companies fail is because they are not keeping their people happy. It takes more than a good salary and some fringe benefits to keep your staff happy these days. Salary and benefits are easy to match. Your competition can match these any day. But they can’t match culture, work environment and values.
How to build teamwork
In order for your business to succeed you need all your people behind you. If one part of the business breaks down, the entire business is affected.
A successful company is like a well-oiled machine. Every part of the machine is lubricated and all the parts work together to support the whole. Everyone in the company needs to work towards a common goal. Everyone needs to have the same commitment even if their level of productivity may be different.
Build teamwork with communication
Communication is a key component to effective teamwork. Your organisation has a vision. You have an idea where you want to go and how to get there. Do your people know this? Have you shared the roadmap to success with them? Are they actively contributing to this roadmap? Or are they just told to do things?
A leader who wants more productive people starts by articulating the company’s aspirations to the people. This may require you to have effective communication skills. Your aim is not just to tell the people but to get them excited about this journey. When they are excited, they are engaged. You can only gain their excitement if they believe that they are playing a part in this success. That their efforts are going to count for something.
In times of crisis, communication becomes vital. How do you assure your staff that their jobs are secured when they are threatened by a one-in-a-century health crisis? How do you keep your teams engaged when they are working from home? How do you monitor work processes when everyone is working from home? Good communication is the answer.
Build teamwork with culture
A positive team culture produces more productive workers. Culture is directly linked to how a leader leads. Great leaders know how to build a culture that is adaptable and inclusive.
Progress equals success. If you don’t have teams who are willing to embrace change, you cannot advance new ideas and innovation. The company’s growth will stagnate. On the other hand, if leaders have their people’s support, the company benefit. The best type of organisational culture is one where the people feel they are part of something bigger. It is an environment that recognises contribution, promotes equal share of knowledge and information, respects diversity and supports the individual to grow and develop.
2. Leading from within and productivity
Productivity is not dependent on your people alone. As a leader of the people, you have to lead by example. If you want your people to work hard, you need to demonstrate that you, too, can work hard. If you can work harder, that’s even better.
To be productive as a leader, you have to lead from within. Leading from within means being authentic in your leadership. Reflect on what you think a great leader is and set yourself some goals to become that great leader. Once you have a clear understanding of what you have to do to become a better leader you can start looking for ways to achieve these goals.
An authentic leader shows genuine interest in the well-being and success of his or her people. They support their people to grow by sharing knowledge, through training and upskilling and by empowering their people and giving them an environment where they can be creative and expressive.
Leading from within is about recognising the importance of continuous learning. Just because you are in a leadership role does not mean you’ve learned everything there is to know in the world. I am a successful business person but I am still discovering new things about myself everyday. The more I learn the better I become at my job. Remind yourself that the world we are living in today is a constantly changing sphere. What is relevant today is irrelevant tomorrow. Think of yourself as the software in a mobile phone. Every month or so, you get a notification from the phone manufacturer asking you to update the software. Why do you need to upgrade the software? New software is introduced all the time because there are new threats on the cloud or new applications that your mobile cannot sync with unless it has been upgraded.
Similarly, as a leader, you have to make decisions in a constantly changing business environment. If you do not upgrade your knowledge bank and keep up with the times, you may not be able to make the right decisions for the business. Being productive as a leader means you must be prepared to learn new things and unlearn redundant things.
Another trait that helps you lead from within is self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ability to see and understand one’s true self. It comes from reflection and mindfulness. Some while back I discovered the power of mindfulness. Mindfulness is about the ability to focus one’s mind on the present moment without any evaluation. It is achieved through meditation and other techniques. You slow your breathing. Focus your mind and ‘be in the moment. When you can center yourself, your mind is able to think clearer and you start to develop an understanding of your thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
The more self-aware you become, the better a leader you will be. A self-aware leader knows his or her limitations. You can tell whether an action is right or wrong; good or bad.
3. Building relationships and productivity
If you want your people to be more productive, you have to build a relationship with them first. Relationship building occurs when leaders lead with integrity, honesty and mutual respect.
People can spot a fake. If you are not true to yourself, your workers will know. They are not going to believe what you say or support what you want to do. Building a positive relationship with your people takes time. A good relationship between a leader and a worker is one where the leader is prepared to listen to the views of his people. If you encourage your workers to share knowledge, express feelings and voice concerns, you are on the road to building respect and trust.
Respect and trust have to be earned. Respect is earned if your people see that you are a boss who can walk the talk. The best way to get your people to work harder is to work hard yourself. The best way to get people to embrace change is if you can embrace it too. The best way to stop people from gossiping is to not gossip yourself. The best way to share ideas is to start sharing what you know. The best way to show them they are valued is to show them gratitude and appreciation.
Trust comes when people feel that they are valued and that you, as their leader, is on their side.
Once trust is earned, your workers are more likely to work harder to help you achieve the organisation’s goals because they know these goals are aligned with their personal goals. Employees who trust their bosses are happier in the workplace and are less likely to leave the organisation.
Build your dream team and build yourself up as a greater leader. Want to know more helpful tips that can help? Read my recent Amazon bestseller, ‘Great Leadership Starts with You’. You can purchase a copy of the book here. https://youwantgroup.com/great-leadership-book/
Iris Du is a leadership strategist and human behaviour expert who thrives on helping individuals, leaders and businesses achieve the success they deserve. Drawing on leadership, attraction and manifestation strategies, Iris works with organisations to help them leverage their natural talent to create highly engaged and high-performing leaders and teams.