Whenever people approach us to run workshops for their team we always probe a little deeper before agreeing to go ahead with the workshop. This is because we want to make sure we understand what the client really wants us to help them achieve.
Interestingly, when we are approached to help teams with their productivity we often find out that part of the reason they are not happy with the productivity of others is because the leader is creating an environment which is far from optimal for people to do their work in the most efficient way.
Here are some of the mistakes we see leaders make which are detrimental to the productivity of others. You may have seen them (in others of course ?).
1. Your lack of planning should not constitute an emergency for others
Translation – stop dumping tasks on other people that are only urgent because you didn’t organise yourself better. Sure things come up that truly are urgent, but many could have been avoided with a bit more planning according to cognitive energy rather than urgency. See our recent blog: Stop prioritising your to-do list according to urgency – yes really
2. Not setting clear deadlines well in advance
I do love deadlines. Most people don’t get things done within expectations because said expectations were not clearly communicated. Make your expectations clear so that people can work on tasks when it’s most appropriate for their cognitive energy to have it feel easier and make fewer mistakes.
Also train your staff to ask for deadlines if, perchance, you forget to give them one. Without deadlines, you can’t prioritise in any way shape or form.
3. Putting square staff into round holes
Stop hiring one human who you think will be able to do 89 things brilliantly and effortlessly. They don’t exist and you will always be disappointed. And you are setting them up for exhaustion.
What’s the one thing you need that new hire to do better and more effortlessly than anything and anyone? Hire for that. It may not be a full-time human. It may be a human that can be spread across various teams to do that thing really well.
Expecting staff to follow antiquated time management practices
Acquire a good understanding of how to maximise cognitive energy for optimal performance. Not coaching your staff or bringing in experts to help with this will cost you millions in the long run. Neuroplasticity (now the 8th wonder of the world as far as we are concerned) needs to not just be understood, but coached well so that people can manage their mindset. If you as a leader don’t understand these, concepts – what hope do your people have to avoid exhaustion?
Exhaustion does not have to be “just a part of life”, but it will be if you don’t know how to use science to consciously avoid it. We all have a part to play in helping ourselves and those around us to avoid exhaustion.
It’s good leadership, and makes great business sense.
If you would like to know more, please contact us about how best to optimise the cognitive energy of you and those around you.
Of course, we now have our new online course The Neuroscience of Getting Things Done . It’s a super cost-effective way to learn some of these tools, and could even become a part of your regular induction program to set your new staff up for success.