5 Reasons Why People Are Unproductive at Work and

January 25, 2020 by  

Take a guess: What portion of the American workforce said they were “most productive” at the office during normal work hours? According to a recent FlexJobs survey, the number could be as low as 7 percent. Many more said they get some things done at the office “because it’s not an option to leave.”

Whatever the number of highly focused workers is, it’s too low. In the massive State of the American Workplace report, Gallup found that only 33 percent of workers are significantly engaged at work.
In addition, a smaller but more troubling number of workers are “actively disengaged,” meaning they “are miserable in the workplace and destroy what the most engaged employees build.” As for the other 51 percent, Gallup found “they are not engaged—they are just there.”
How does this happen? Why do so many people come into work, day after day, but rarely show up ready to put in their best effort?
On the Job Blues
There are hundreds of reasons that emerge in job satisfaction surveys and conversations with workers.

But five reasons really stand out to me.

1. Workers Aren’t Inspired by Their Leaders
Ideally, workers want their jobs to be more than just a paycheck. They want to be playing a part in an organization that makes a positive difference. They want to be challenged and have the opportunity to enhance the skills they have and even learn new ones. For them to be inspired, leaders need to articulate a vision they can embrace.
Too often, that just isn’t happening. According to Gallup, only “15 percent of workers strongly agree that the leadership of their organization makes them enthusiastic about the future, inspires them and makes them feel appreciated.”

2. Workers Aren’t Getting the Communication They Need
Inspiration is a good thing, but so is clear regular communication. Too often, it is lacking. An even smaller number than those inspired—only “13 percent of employees,” in fact—“strongly agree that the leadership of their organization communicates effectively with the rest of the organization.” That’s a huge disconnect and a breeding ground for job dissatisfaction.

3. Workers Face a Blizzard of Distractions
At the office, it can seem like everything from email to meetings to drop-ins to social media to ever-shrinking space-per-employee is one giant conspiracy to distract workers, throw them off their game, and convince them to accept less of themselves and their colleagues. In such an environment, of course, it’s harder to stay engaged.

4. Too Many Tasks Assigned to Workers are Drudgery
One secret to productivity is to work on tasks where your passion intersects with your proficiency. I do understand that a certain amount of drudgery in most jobs is predictable. However, not all aspects of a person’s job should fall into that category.
However, sadly, many companies don’t pay nearly enough attention to the passion and proficiencies of their workers when assigning tasks. So, when workers are focusing on tasks they consider a grind for most of their workdays, they are not going to be as engaged or productive as they would be if they did more suitable, challenging, or interesting tasks.

5. Workers Aren’t Getting the Flexibility They Crave
Too many workers get up early in the morning, fight traffic into work, try to fit in appointments on their lunch breaks, get stuck staying after hours because a meeting ran long, and then fight traffic again on the way home. The whole time they must be wondering, “Why do I have to be here? What does this have to do with me getting my job done?”
According to FlexJobs, 66 percent of workers thought they could be more productive working in a home office. Only 2 percent thought they’d be less productive.
They may be right or wrong about that. Mandatory office hours could undermine productivity for certain. But, right or wrong, the point is today’s workers crave flexibility, and they are often not getting it. It is no surprise many aren’t putting in their best effort because they really are not very happy.
Silver Lining
The one bright side to those dismal workplace surveys is that if companies address these concerns consistently, their workers will be far more productive.
In fact, Gallup found that at the “world’s best organizations” the overall engagement of employees was 70 percent—still room to grow but a whole lot better than 33 percent. That is the difference effective leadership can make. It really important for managers and leaders to get to know their team members so that they can help them to fulfill their potential and benefit themselves and the team as a whole. When that happens, employees feel more appreciated and supported and in that frame of mind are going to work more productively and efficiently benefiting everyone on the team.

5 Tips for Preventing Unproductive Team Conflict & Creating High Peformance

January 19, 2020 by  

Healthy competition within a team can be a motivating force, however, it can also cause conflict that can cause a lot of problems. Finding just the right balance can move a team from being mediocre to being sensational. However, the competitive desire to succeed and win can drive some to cheat. We have all experienced having an idea shared casually in the staff lounge, and then later presented by someone else as theirs.

So how do successful teams turn competition into innovation?
1. Start with the right team:
Building complementary, collaborative teams of individuals is the best way to prevent conflict before it ever begins. Introduce assessments to develop a team with diversity in both personalities and skills. If you do this, you will have a much better chance of leveraging those differences to the advantage of everyone.

2. Celebrate the differences:
Diversity can bring strength and innovation to the team. It can actually boost individual confidence and even encourage collaboration. When employees recognize and leverage the differences in the group, they will experience less friction in their collaborative efforts. Diverse perspectives create more problem-solving opportunities and more unique and creative outcomes. Encourage experienced team members to share their expertise with younger employees and younger employees to teach older generations about social media and new technologies.

3. Share common goals:
A high-performance team needs more than just the right chemistry they also require the alignment of common goals. These goals need to be clearly defined to be certain that everyone is on the same page. With all eyes on the final goal, team members will be less likely to get caught up in short term disputes and will work tirelessly to achieve those common collaboratively decided upon goals.

4. Capitalize on individual strengths:
Effective teams know how to combine individual results into a successful group effort. Maintaining a healthy dose of competition keeps a project from stagnating. Inevitably, somebody will come up with a better idea or get the work done before others. Focus these individual achievements into a strong drive for higher accomplishments for everyone. Team members with the right skills will see how their individual strengths can enhance another team member’s idea, which can end up improving the final outcome for everyone.

5. Establish team checkpoints:
Measuring progress along the way provides value to the accomplishment pf that original goal. This approach helps the team continue to share that same goal but also allows for a re-evaluation if necessary. Checkpoints give team members an opportunity to voice their concerns throughout the project. Keep in mind that these are team checkpoints, are not individual progress reports. Successful teams appreciate that the desired outcome is dependent upon the collaborative sum total of everyone’s contribution.

Strong teams are composed of a diverse group of individuals with specific roles all working toward the same common goals. Along the way, they are able to solve problems, resolve conflict and accomplish those goals. They recognize that each member has a valuable purpose to perform and know that they could not accomplish their team project alone. Unlike rival companies, team members can channel competition into mutual gain. Using diversity to drive success takes the competition from conflict to innovation.

If you employ the suggestions above, you will be far more likely to develop and maintain a high-performance team that that works well together with innovation, creativity, and great achieveme

5 Reasons You Continue to Procrastinate

January 7, 2020 by  

At work, you may feel stuck in the deepest rut of all time. You try to move forward but the groove is deep and you are really wedged in there well. Sound familiar? It happens to most leaders at some point. I have found the best way to get yourself out of that rut is to understand the reason you are there in the first place.

There are 5 usual reasons that people get stuck in those ruts.

Reason #1: You aren’t clear about your goals.
Goals that lack clarity are merely wishes. I’d like to make a million dollars this year. Wouldn’t we all! If you have no definite plan that will never happen.
It is much better to establish ambitious but realistic goals that include the target and some concrete ways to reach it. I am going to increase our sales this year by 10 percent by cold-calling a few prospective clients every workday is a clearer goal that you just might be able to achieve.
If you haven’t set a clear destination, don’t be surprised if you can’t seem to get any momentum or accomplish what you wish.

Reason #2: You haven’t identified Your why.
Motivation matters. There are plenty of ways out there to increase your productivity, but few of the people actually consider the why and if you do not do that, it will be much harder to accomplish the goal.
So when you get stuck, step back and ask yourself, “Why do I want to reach this goal?” and find your reasons: To make more money, to feel a sense of accomplishment, to take more time off, to go home this weekend and not have work hanging over my head.
Whatever your key motivations, when you find yourself dragging your feet, stop to remind yourself why you wanted to do this in the first place. Reconnecting with your why will always help to achieve your goals.

Reason #3: You haven’t chunked the project down to bite-size pieces.
Goals are big things that are going to take a lot of effort over time to accomplish. People can get stuck focusing on the enormity of the task. To reach your goals, focus instead on the chunking up the job in smaller pieces or steps that you will need to get there. This will make it easier to accomplish your job as we are best with tasks that last 15-20 minutes.
I should add the caution that while larger goals ought to challenge us, the steps toward getting to our goals should not. These steps need to be inside our comfort zone and ought to require little or no courage to do. The trick is to cut the giant into enough pieces so that he is no longer menacing.

Reason #4: You are distracted by too many tasks.
If left unchecked, the whirlwind of activity in your organization will constantly distract you from reaching your goals. So simplify things whenever you can.
The most helpful concept for me is what I call “The Big 3”. I teach that you should only have three main tasks per day. To focus on three and only three, you have to filter your tasks and eliminate, automate, or delegate everything that is outside your list.
You can also have a small list of non-essential tasks that can be handled at the beginning or at the end of the workday. Your attitude toward these things ought to be, “If I get to them, fine, and if not, that is okay, too.”

Reason #5: You haven’t built in any accountability.
Built-in accountability is one of two primary ingredients for goal success. You need someone who will hold you accountable without succumbing to your excuses. Their purpose in this context is not to shame you but to remind you of the road you set out on, and why getting over the finish line will be worth it. You need to focus on the main tasks in order to fulfill the whole project.

If you pay attention to these obstacles and find ways that make sense to you to overcome them, you will be much more likely to achieve your goals in a timely fashion.