Have you ever had an unproductive day that was filled with distractions, longer-than-necessary phone calls and less than half of your tasks checked off your to-do list? This situation is relatable for many managers across industries.
In today's business world, managers are actively searching for ways to enhance their professional development and stay ahead in a competitive market. Therefore, finding ways you can help your managers improve their performance is the first major step in increasing their effectiveness as a leader at your company which in turn, helps boost employee performance at work.
In this blog post, we are delving into the 12 effective ways managers can improve their work performance and uplevel their professional development.
What's in this post:
What is work performance?
Work performance refers to the history of performance at work in relation to how well past responsibilities and tasks have been completed or handled. Managers can measure the success of their work performance as well as the performance of their employees based on whether tasks have been completed on time, and whether the work results have met the expected standard.
This evaluation of work performance comes close to a performance evaluation. Accordingly, considerations for promotions, bonuses, or pay raises are often based on these performance metrics.
For managers, work performance also includes referring to the overall performance of their team members since a manager's performance is directly linked to the results that their team achieves, the engagement score, turnover rates, insights from employee surveys, and resource consumption. Moreover, it is also reflected in the way that managers approach conflict or challenges, and how they are responded to and resolved.
No matter where a manager is in their career, it is important to continuously set goals to improve your performance at work. Having managers set goals, allows you to help managers advance well in their role which in turn, gives your company more job security.
Why is work performance important?
Work performance is a term that describes an individual's ability to perform their job well. But why is it important?
Enhances team productivity: Managers lead by example, therefore, they are the ones setting the tone for their team's performance at work. When managers are productive in their work and demonstrate high performance, their behavior will inspire and influence their team members to follow in their manager's footsteps, resulting in increased productivity levels.
Increases leadership credibility: When managers work on improving their work performance, it will be easier for them to gain the trust and respect of their team members. This is because as managers progress their professional development, their credibility and proficiency as a manager will increase as well. This leads to the cultivation of a positive work environment and effective leadership.
Achievement of organizational goals: Since a manager's work performance directly influences employee performance, organizational objectives can be met much faster and more efficiently if a manager knows how to manage their team to stay motivated and on track with their performance. Therefore, managers who do well in their roles play a crucial role in ensuring that targets and goals are met in a timely manner.
Cost efficiency: Financial benefits follow when managers do their job well. Efficient managers can help your company save on operational costs, optimize the way resources are utilized, and increase the competitiveness of the organization.
12 ways to improve work performance
There are many ways for managers to improve work performance at work. Here are strategies you can start implementing in your managers today to see a difference in work performance tomorrow.
Quit multitasking and start focusing
According to statistics, multitasking reduces productivity by 40%.
You may be surprised, as multitasking can oftentimes be a good skill to have. However, as a manager, it is important to prioritize tasks and avoid wasting time trying to complete tasks all at once. Doing so may cause the quality of work to be reduced. Multitasking often causes you to continuously redirect your attention from one task to another in between short attention spans.
With that being said, learning to focus on one task at a time is a great starting point in improving work performance.
Despite multitasking being a tempting way to complete your to-do list, it is best to give your full attention to finishing one task at a time before moving on to the next. Eliminating this habit can help managers increase their productivity and efficiency in each task, and spend more time looking into the details to avoid errors.
One way to stop multitasking and start focusing is to make a list of the important tasks that need to be accomplished from most important to least.
Distractions can be one of the biggest time-wasters. Therefore, when looking for ways to improve work performance, it is important to reduce or eliminate any distractions that can distract you from finishing tasks on time.
Limiting distractions can help managers tend to their tasks more efficiently, become more aware of what is going on in their team, be more attentive to employee concerns or ideas, and boost productivity to get tasks finished quicker.
Here are a few actionable tips to avoid getting distracted:
Turn phones off, set them to the Do Not Disturb mode, or keep their phones away from the workspace.
Work in a quiet space or put on headphones to block out conversations and distracting noises.
When working from home, make sure to establish a workspace dedicated to only working.
Use a time-tracking tool to keep track of the time taken to complete tasks.
Setting milestones is not just about constantly writing down the big, challenging goals you want to achieve. Instead, get managers to set one to three big goals each year that they'd like to accomplish, and from there, set weekly and monthly milestones that will help them get there.
Setting these milestones will help managers stay on track and maintain their motivation to reach those goals rather than getting demotivated by the stress of achieving big goals at a time. This habit will also help managers work more efficiently towards achieving organizational objectives when they constantly have milestones to reach.
Setting milestones is also a great way to train managers to set clear and achievable goals with their employees and can help them support employees to stay on track with their own goals.
Pro tip when setting milestones: Implement SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) to be specific, and stay accountable during the process.
Improve time management skills
Being a good manager means having sharp time management skills. This can be achieved by planning their days efficiently or planning ahead of time.
For example, if a deadline for a task is in a couple of weeks, encourage managers to create a plan on how they can portion out their time to prioritize that task first. Remind them that one or two hours of focused dedication to a task each week is more effective than a few hours of work right before the deadline.
Having good time management skills will help managers stay on top of their game, be consistent and reliable in their performance, and avoid stressful moments as a result of procrastination. Managers will also be able to keep better track of their team's performance and how well tasks are being accomplished and quickly identify and resolve any roadblocks that are in the way.
Plan and prioritize tasks
It is important for a manager to know how to organize their work by breaking down big projects into small tasks and setting priority statuses for each of them.
Having a clear plan and priority list for what tasks should be accomplished first or taken to the forefront will help improve a manager's job performance. One way to activate this habit is to encourage managers to schedule time at the beginning of each day to see which tasks are most important so that those tasks can receive their best energy, and leave the least important tasks to be completed when there is spare time.
Knowing how to plan and prioritize tasks helps managers improve work performance by training them to be efficient with their time and boost productivity within their teams.
Learn how to delegate tasks
One of the ways to improve work performance, and prioritize tasks is knowing how to delegate them efficiently. It is also important to learn how to say "no" to certain tasks that are low on the priority list or tasks that can affect work progress.
Managers can learn how to break projects into smaller tasks and give clear instructions to their team on how to complete them efficiently. Having good management skills also includes being aware of when you are taking on too many tasks and responsibilities, and delegating them to others to ensure that each project produces a great outcome.
One way to help managers delegate tasks like an efficient leader is to implement the Eisenhower matrix. It is a great tool that can help managers categorize and prioritize their tasks as urgent, not urgent, important, and not important. It also provides a better overview of what to accomplish first, and what can be delegated to other team members to increase productivity.
How can managers delegate their tasks effectively?
Identify the strengths of each employee and harness those strengths by assigning tasks accordingly.
Be involved in the process, but avoid micromanaging.
Be open to suggestions on how a task can be performed differently.
Enhance communication skills
Communication skills come up time and time again when it comes to anything management-related. For good reason too.
Effective communication results in improved overall performance, and great teamwork.
With that being said, high-performing managers have strong communication skills. Communication is essential for ensuring that all operations run smoothly, and for no miscommunications to come about. Especially when working on a big project, it is important for managers to let their team know their individual responsibilities and what is expected of them.
Encourage managers to refine their communication skills and take part in training to make sure that they know how to effectively communicate - whether that be through verbal or non-verbal forms of communication.
Take care of your mental health
We cannot emphasize the importance of having a healthy work-life balance enough. In the midst of daily tasks and responsibilities, it can be easy to lose track of checking in with yourself and how you are handling your days.
It is also important to keep a good balance between personal life and professional life. Therefore, remember to stay healthy by investing time in your physical health, finding effective ways to minimize stress, and learning how to manage your work hours appropriately.
Managers should take short breaks throughout the day to keep up their energy levels and remind themselves to get adequate rest so that they are ready to perform every day.
When managers take care of their mental health, they can show up better for their team and make better decisions. Managers will also take into account the importance of their employee's well-being which will also result in increased performance and better work quality.
Observe and learn from other managers
What better way to improve work performance than to observe how others behave and lead?
Managers can learn from other managers who are reaching top metrics successfully achieving organizational goals and managing top-performing teams by observing the different strategies that are being implemented and being given the opportunity to discuss and share ideas and challenges that they face in their role.
Encourage your managers to seek out mentors or other managers in their industry, and listen to their experience and managerial style. It can give them inspiration and insight into how they can become a top performing manager and improve their work performance.
Ask for constructive feedback
Feedback is a gateway to improvement. During performance reviews, managers are often in the position to give feedback, but it is important to remember that managers should also be the ones receiving feedback as well.
Getting constructive feedback can come from other managers and supervisors, or employee surveys. This gives managers an opportunity to see how they are being perceived by others and become proactive in developing their leadership style and work performance.
Criticism is a good measurement and reflection of performance and can show managers where they need to focus on improving the most to become a manager that their team members trust, enjoy working it, and produce strong results.
Plan for meetings in advance
💡Did you know that employers lose approximately 24 billion hours annually as a result of unproductive meetings, leading to reduced productivity in the workplace?
Meetings are a powerful way to increase productivity, resolve roadblocks, and stimulate new ideas. However, if not facilitated well, they can be a waste of time and hinder managers and employees from getting things done efficiently.
Therefore, planning and scheduling meetings is a skill that many managers can improve on to make sure that they do not cut into their employee's productivity time.
Here are three ways managers can improve their planning skills for productive meetings:
Before sending out an invite, double-check if this meeting is necessary and what the goals of the meeting are.
Make sure that the meeting time aligns with everyone's schedule.
Be clear on what the meeting is about, and what is expected from everyone.
Embrace continuous learning and development
Last, but not least - it is important to remember that in order to improve work performance, having a growth mindset is important. No matter how skilled a manager is, everyone has areas to improve on.
Therefore, for managers to improve their work performance and professional development, they should be open to continuously learning new skills and learning from past mistakes to avoid repeating them in the future.
To do so, managers should participate in regular training sessions and take part in mentoring or coaching to refine their leadership skills and thrive in their roles.
What to avoid to maintain productivity
Here are two extra tips on how managers can maintain productivity and what they should avoid:
Having a cluttered desk/workspace: Organization is not only important when it comes to prioritizing tasks, but it is also important for your workspace. Having a clean and tidy workspace can do wonders for improving work performance as it helps managers to feel more composed, and display a higher sense of professionalism. Think of your work desk as a map of your mind. Cluttered desks can become a distraction, and cause uneasiness and stress.
Engaging in office gossip and drama: Office gossip is a massive productivity killer. Especially as a manager, it is important to stay neutral and squash any conflict or tension quickly and efficiently to avoid further difficulties or new conflicts.
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Here are three things a person can do to boost productivity at work: Focus on completing one task at a time to avoid multitasking, use the pomodoro strategy in which you dedicate 20 to 30 minutes on working on a task and then take a 5 minute break, and thirdly limit your distractions that can make you lose track of time or hinder your efficiency such as smart phones or noises.
There are numerous training programs that can help improve work performance. However, the two core training programs are teamwork training to increase engagement and retention rates, emotional intelligence training to increase self-awareness. These trainings will help improve working relationships and guide you into identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and how you are being perceived by others.