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Give employees an inch and they’ll take a mile. Losing concentration may be human nature, yet some people take it to the limits. It’s called slacking off and costs companies thousands of dollars on a daily basis. Without focused and productive workers, there is no way for the company to maintain a steady rate of output.
It’s tempting to blame the people who are committing the crime. After all, if they didn’t slack off in the first place, then it wouldn’t be an issue. Sure, the guys and girls who don’t give their all deserve your wrath, but so do you too. Although it’s never nice to admit, the culture is usually something which bosses cultivate.
Although it sounds counterproductive, leaders do it subconsciously through their words and actions. It’s an indirect consequence of being a bad boss. If it is your fault, then you need to change and do it quickly. Otherwise, the business will continue to hurt its own bottom line. Let’s take a look at the ways a company may be unwittingly undermining productivity. Here are the signs to watch out for like a hawk.
Are you the type of person who tells people what to do and doesn’t ask for their input? Plenty of managers think they are the opposite because teamwork is a buzzword in today’s modern culture. The dirty secret is that they lead in an old-school fashion – by doling out commands and not interacting with their employees.
The majority of the staff will accept this as your management style and not push back, but a revolution isn’t your biggest problem. The chief issue is creating a group of people who only take orders and don’t think for themselves. As when this happens, employees sit around and wait for the next instruction rather than using their initiative. Let’s face it – it’s an easy life.
Instead of handing out orders, you should provide them with instructions. Guidelines are a lot looser and flexible, which means they can do things their own way. As long as the project is completed to a high level, do you care how they go about it? Try and encourage your workers to use their brain or else they will dumb down to the point where they need their hand holding. And, you haven’t got time to play the mother role.
Obviously, no one is going to do something they didn’t think they had to do in the first place. Remember that they can’t read minds. If you need them to complete a task, then you should spell it out in plain English. Don’t worry if it seems a little patronizing because it’s better to be safe than sorry by avoiding vague terms and jargon. Anyway, the people who find it offensive will say something down the line.
On a separate note, employees tend to slack off when they read between the lines. Take rumors of layoffs as an example. As soon as individuals in a department hear their job is at stake, they will lose the motivation to churn out quality work. Anyone who has been in the situation understands that being a reliable employee won’t save you. It’s all about the money.
Letting the gossip circulate is only going to result in the whole company laying down their tools. So, you need to communicate effectively and tell them that their job isn’t at stake. Even if it’s a white lie, it’s for the sake of the company. Plus, it will put their mind to rest. Of course, the only way to dispel the rumors is with an announcement in the office.
Being Too Trusting
Orwellian bosses are a thing of the past. In 2018, it’s about having faith in employees and letting them deal with the consequences. The company Netflix doesn’t track labor hours. Instead, it keeps an eye on productivity. As long as everything is finished on time, they don’t care how their staff uses its time during the day. Quite a novel concept, right?
It is in many ways because workers are always on the lookout for a loophole. Just ask an owner of a fleet management company. In a company car during office hours, men and women will eek out a get-together for as long as possible to avoid working. Some “meetings” aren’t even real. This is where a GPS tracking system is a savvy move. Big Brother it may be, but you need a way to ensure your people are liable for their actions. Let’s face facts and admit that you can’t watch them all the time, especially when they’re not at their desk.
You don’t have to watch it constantly if it makes you uneasy. What you can do is refer back to the data should something not add up. Typically, it’s a deterrent anyway because workers won’t slack off if they know someone is watching them.
Here’s how to know if your leadership is hurting your business.
Not Encouraging Accountability
Employees complain about a lack of responsibility, so employers give it to them in a bid to boost morale. However, what they neglect to do is to create an atmosphere of accountability. How? They do it through being too informal. When an individual asks for extra liability, a boss may say something like “yes, sure.” Then, the person walks off with a smile on their face. It sounds like a job well done but it’s a grave error.
The reason is simple: ambiguity. The employee has no idea what their new position entails because you never guided them through it. So, when something goes wrong, it’s hard to blame a worker as there was negligence on your behalf. Encouraging accountability goes back to conversing properly with employees. The trick is to assign the news tasks formally and set specific expectations. It can be as basic as giving them a deadline.
However, they need to know what you expect of them on a regular basis. Otherwise, they will neglect their duties and you won’t have much room for recourse. It’s essential that you ask them before putting it on their plate because they have to agree to it first. After all, they may not be as forward once they realize the consequences if they fail.
Here’s how you can turn your employees’ frowns upside down.
Failing To Recognize Achievements
Money isn’t the only motivator. Most employees do things for the recognition as they love the feeling of a pat on the back. The words “well done” are very underrated in the corporate world. In fact, so much so that an incredible amount of leaders barely utter the phrase. For workers, there is nothing as dull as completing a task for the sake of doing it. And, that is how they feel when they get no recognition whatsoever.
As a result, they go through the motions. Why should they pour out their heart and soul when you won’t even appreciate their output? It’s an honest question and one which bosses need to contemplate if they want to keep their employees on board. The fact is it’s not tricky to thank someone for their time and effort. A word of warning: don’t do it without good reason. If a task is simple, then it goes without saying that they should complete it with ease.
However, something difficult and important is deserving of your approval. Bosses that say it too much run the risk of diluting the impact. Use it sparingly so that it retains its effectiveness, but make sure you use it so that people are aware of your gratitude.
Leaving Gaps In Labor
Times are hard and cuts are necessary to keep the company afloat. However, it leaves gaping holes in business. Who’s going to pick up the slack? For most bosses, the answer is the current workforce. It’s unfortunate, but they’ll have to multitask for the sake of the firm.
Here’s why this is problematic: workers aren’t as invested as you. They may love the job, but there are a host of reasons why they come into the office in the morning. As a result, they will happily slack off and watch the company fail. What they need is two-fold. Either you replace one person with another and pay them less, or you reward multi-taskers with bonuses. If they don’t get a pay hike for the extra work, their morale will sink. As that happens, productivity will fall off a cliff and you may not be able to get it back again.
Another issue with the workforce is treating them as expendable. Employers have leverage because of the lack of supply and high rate of demand. Still, it’s not nice to treat someone as if they are a piece of s**t on the bottom of your shoe. Show them respect and they will reward it with a quality work ethic. Anyway, firing and hiring recruits is relative to one year’s wages which defeats the purpose of cutting costs. So, plugging the gaps makes total sense.
Every business has to deal with slackers no matter how hard they try to stop the inevitable. However, what isn’t cool is acting as a catalyst. So, are you the problem?