Three questions to help your team become more productive

A speaker discussing productivity at an online conference last week said we need to focus on being productive instead of busy, to quit talking and start doing. Productivity is not an accident; it emerges from a commitment to planning and effort.

Unfortunately, in this Covid-19 world of Zoom and conference calls, talking is what we have perfected. And managers are struggling. We feel out of touch. Some are hovering via MS Teams, rapid-fire WhatsApp messages and emails at inappropriate times. Others are disengaged and their teams are floundering.

After the basics are clear (what the team and each person must do and by when) management can best be done through questions that engage rather than merely inform or imply criticism.

Here are three to get you going:

  • How can I best help you?
    There is the obvious question of what the employee needs help with but also discuss how they prefer to be managed.
  • What are you struggling with?
    Not the work, which is dealt with in the first question, but general issues around remote working, remote engagement with clients, a sense of isolation, etc.
  • What have you learned?
    Is there something you can share with the team that you have achieved, discovered or found helpful? This introduces something missing in remote work: informal or less-formal engagement with the team; an opportunity to share insights.

What questions would you ask to engage more effectively with your team?
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Ian Webster

From Methodist minister to Customer Relations manager in a computer bureau to HR Manager in a newspaper printing and publishing company. Now focussing on training and developing people, people-management consulting and writing and editing.

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