Modern managers are always seeking ways to make employees more productive. The current economy is not only hard on individuals seeking work, but can be challenging for managers who are trying to hold on to good talent. While companies can’t make every employee happy all of the time, they can at least acknowledge and address some of the top reasons that talented employees leave. One of these reasons is that many workers don’t feel like they are being productive in their current line of work.
The following are 8 professional tips to make employees more productive, happy, and less likely to abandon ship.
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]1[/dropcap]Be a Good Employer. One effective way to make employees more productive is to take a look in the mirror. Are you the best manager you can be? Is the company competitive in terms of benefits and services available to employees? Even the most traditional benefits like retirement, have been cut from modern businesses. Hold on to these perks in order to make your company more attractive. Make sure to talk with, not to, employees about expectations, rules, and appropriate conduct. And most importantly be consistent, don’t display favoritism as it initiates hostility, conflict, and resentment.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]2[/dropcap]Make Them Feel Valued. Be encouraging and always be ready to publicly praise employees. This goes a long way, and instills loyalty in employees. If an employee makes a mistake, instead of berating the person, talk to them with positive language and encourage them to do better.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]3[/dropcap]Offer a Broad Picture. Managers can make employees more productive by revealing long term goals and objectives. Sharing the vision of the business sparks inspiration and serves as a motivator for employees to meet short term goals.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]4[/dropcap]Share Goals, Not Just Instructions. If management feels that sharing the big picture will somehow not make employees more productive, they should at least share short term goals so that that employees know why they are being asked to complete a particular task. Ensure new employees touch base with you frequently in order to keep them on track with goals and to offer guidance. Let seasoned employees choose their own path to complete goals once they are shared. Avoid hovering over them, a little trust goes a long way.[/note]
The modern workplace, whether in person or online, depends heavily on accurate and fast communication. Unclear or misunderstood communication can cause long delays, misinformed business strategies, and poor performance. In Top 10 Critical Communication Mistakes Part 1, we explored 5 of 10 critical communication mistakes common in the modern workplace.
This article focuses on the final 5 communication mistakes professionals make every day.
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]6[/dropcap]Avoiding Hard Conversations. One of the most common communication mistakes is not communicating. Many managers feel awkward when relaying negative feedback and avoid it all costs. However, this will only enable bad behavior or performance and can make a small problem worse. Before giving negative feedback, rehearse the conversation so you can feel confident in your message.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]7[/dropcap]Not Being Assertive. Being assertive doesn’t mean you’ll always get what you want, however not voicing your opinions will guarantee that you won’t get what you want. Others and managers respect an individual who is not afraid to contribute or object to various strategies and projects. Assertiveness also means saying “no” if necessary. Know your limitations and voice your concerns. This will enable a manageable workload.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]8[/dropcap]Lack of Preparation. Prepare before engaging in any work activities such as presentations, meetings, and emails. Lack of preparation is frustrating to participants and management. It is also embarrassing for the unprepared individual as it makes you seem sloppy and unprofessional. Not being prepared is one of the communication mistakes that can be costly to your reputation.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]9[/dropcap]Not Customizing Your Approach. One of the most common communication mistakes made by supervisors and managers is communicating to everyone in the exact same way. Here is where knowing your employees comes into play. Take note of their learning styles and communication preferences and habits. Some employees may respond well to constant email communication, while others may need a phone call or face to face conversation.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]10[/dropcap]Keeping a Closed Mind. The modern workplace is filled with a variety of people from different cultures, backgrounds, and ethnicity. Avoid stereotyping and pigeonholing employees based on these factors. Learn about their specific skills, abilities, and goals. This approach will allow them to grow and succeed in the office.[/note]
The current work environment is a challenging place that is only made more difficult when communication mistakes are made. Address these challenges head on and your office and workers will become more efficient and complete.
In a virtual office environment, as in offline offices, communication mistakes can be quite common due to our heavy reliance on non-verbal communication tools. Sending out an email without checking it for correct spelling or grammar, for example, can be embarrassing. However, there are a few other communication mistakes that can cause more than a little embarrassment.
Avoid these top 10 critical communication mistakes.
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]1[/dropcap]Not Editing Your Work. We are an email society. Mistakes in tone, spelling errors, and grammatical errors can make you seem unprofessional and sloppy. Don’t rely on spell check, they don’t always pick up on grammatical errors and the improper use of words that have multiple meanings depending on the context of the sentence.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]2[/dropcap]Assuming Everyone Understands Your Message. A common communication mistake, is not following up with all employees involved in a communication to ensure they all understand what was said and what is expected of them. Encourage others to ask questions and make yourself available for later inquires.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]3[/dropcap]Nasty Grams or Bad News Emails. This is one of the most common communication mistakes made by management. Too often managers use email to scold or discipline employees. This creates tension whenever employees receive management emails. It also builds resentment and embarrassment as often time’s email accounts can be accessed by others who can also read these “nasty grams.” Also try to avoid sending bad news via email. Some news requires a personal touch, via a telephone call or Skype session.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]4[/dropcap]Violating the Privacy of Others. Many individuals share email accounts and have access to the passwords and computers of co-workers. In this environment it is easy to read correspondence that is meant for someone else or to accidentally resend your private conversations with others out to unintended audiences. To avoid this mistake, write private messages before choosing recipients. Also avoid hitting “reply” or “reply all” until after you write the message.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]5[/dropcap]Reacting instead of Responding. Sometimes work can be frustrating and we sometimes react without thinking. This communication mistake can be quite costly in terms of your image and reputation. When encountering an unpleasant situation, take time to breathe, think, and then respond verbally or via email.[/note]
Stay tuned for part two of our top 10 list of critical communication mistakes.
The third annual Work Stress Survey shows that 8 out 10 Americans experience significant stress at work. Topping the list of stressors is poor pay and excessive projects. While insufficient pay and mountains of assignments are combated on an individual level, there are several general stress reducing tips that will help anyone in any positon. In 12 Ways to Ditch Stress at Work Part 1 we discussed the first 6 ways to reduce stress at the job.
Here are 6 full proof ways to ditch stress at work.
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]7[/dropcap]Stop Interruptions. It can be difficult to control habitual interrupters, but you can control your responses. You can accept the interruption or stop the interruption. There are also preventative measures that will decrease the likelihood of distractions like office hours, having certain times when you respond to emails, or closing your door when you have to focus.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]8[/dropcap]Press the Panic Button. If you feel yourself getting anxious, utilize acupuncture techniques to instantly reduce stress by using your thumb to apply pressure to the side of your middle finger.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]9[/dropcap] Talk Down Stressful Co-Workers. Every office has those individuals who live in the stress zone and negatively impact others with their behavior. Try approaching these individuals and discussing their behavior and its impacts on others in a respectful tone. Or request that a manager or supervisor talk to the individual.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]10[/dropcap]Be a Cheerleader. Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of the job or becoming overwhelmed by your projects, pump yourself up with positive messages. Encouraging thoughts are a stronger motivator than negative ones.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]11[/dropcap]Flip the Script. What happens in the office, its players, events, and their effects on you can change depending on your interpretation. So instead of seeing the recent announcement of the acquisition of a big time client as a stressful event, interpret it as a major opportunity for you to show off your abilities and help your team.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]12[/dropcap]Eat Well and Sleep Better. When we experience stress at work, we often skip meals and go without sleep. Avoid both. Mentally and physically we function better when we are well nourished and energized.[/note]
40% of American adults can’t sleep at night because of stress at work. The average professional has between 30 and 100 projects on their plate, leading to burn out, fatigue, and overall worker dissatisfaction. Business psychologist, Sharon Melnick, says, “People often ask me for answers. Everyone can get overwhelmed.” But there are still simple ways for American professionals to reduce stress at work, and still fulfill your professional obligations.
Here are 12 simple strategies to lower stress at work without lowering your productivity.
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]1[/dropcap]Design Your Calendar for Focus and Energy. There is a belief that the longer we work, the more productive we will be. The exact opposite is true. The longer we work, the more energy we lose and the less productive we become. Place breaks in your work day to re-energize. Energy experts advise 90 minutes of intense concentration followed by a period of rest.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]2[/dropcap]Be Active. Recognize the situations that you can control and do so. Although you can’t control every situation, you are always in control of your reactions and responses.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]3[/dropcap]Remember to Breathe. Practicing deep breathing is a quick way to reduce stress at work and regain balance throughout a hectic work day. A common technique is to inhale for 5 seconds, hold, then exhale in equal counts through the nose.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]4[/dropcap]Recognize Internal Stress. Often we are our worse stressor, especially if we focus on the perceptions of others. Concentrate on the actual work, and not if it is going to impress someone. More often than not, the work is a higher quality and has a better chance to impress than otherwise.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]5[/dropcap]Cool Down Quickly. Instead of instantly reacting to an infuriating incident or comment, take time to practice a “cooling breath.” Breathe in through the mouth as if sipping through a straw, and breathe out through the mouth.[/note]
[note note_color=”#efefef”][dropcap]6[/dropcap]Prioritize Priorities. Some priorities are less timely than others. Managing this tip on a daily basis can lower stress at work as you get what must be done first out of the way. You will literally feel better as the day progresses, knowing that the most time sensitive projects are complete.[/note]
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