Here’s a look at three interesting stories currently in the news with ramifications for your team’s productivity.
1. What great managers do daily
Lots has been written about what outcomes great managers achieve (they build trust, create accountability, etc.), but less that gives insight into what strong managers do day-to-day that sets them apart. But researchers recently analyzed thousands of “digital breadcrumbs” like how much time managers spend in one-on-ones, how quickly they respond to emails, etc.) to help figure out what behaviors differentiate the best managers. Their results, in the Harvard Business Review, include that great managers spend higher-than-average time in one-on-ones with employees, maintain large internal networks across their companies, ensure even allocation of work, lead by example when it comes to working hours, and more. The whole thing is worth a read, especially if you like data.
2. Three ways to say no to something you don’t have time to do
Ever struggle to say no to people asking you to take on new commitments that you don’t have time for – whether it’s an optional new assignment, a speaking invitation for a conference you’re not terribly interested in, or a lunch with someone low on your priority list? Most people say yes far more than they actually want to, because we’re nice or feel obligated or can’t figure out how to say no politely. Writing at LinkedIn, Andy Molinsky suggests first recognizing that it’s okay to say no! If you say yes to everything and everyone, you'll end up without the time or energy to do what you really love to do,” he writes. “Instead of thinking about ‘no’ as a bad thing, think about it as saying ‘yes’ to you and your family and the other commitments you really care about.” He also suggests finding the right words, such as “I really appreciate you thinking of me, but I've just got too much on my plate right now” or “I would love to do it/serve/get involved, but I just can't right now. I hope you will think of me again.” And if you find that daunting, try pressing pause – don’t answer right away and ask for some time to think about it.
3. How to create deadlines you’ll really stick to
Creating your own deadlines can be a blessing and a curse: You have the flexibility that doesn’t come with externally imposed deadlines, but knowing that you set the timeline yourself can make you more likely to keep pushing it back. Kayla Matthews suggests doing four things differently to get yourself to stick to self-imposed deadlines: First, schedule them as close to the present as possible, so that you start working on the task earlier than you probably would otherwise and keep a sense of urgency attached. Second, figure out what you personally respond to best when it comes to deadlines – do you like to plan and prioritize, arrange your work according to how you’re feeling, or fit in relative to the rest of what’s going on? Build your deadline accordingly. Third, break the project down into bite-size chunks so that it’s less intimidating to get started. And fourth, create some accountability outside of yourself, like by telling your boss she’ll see the work next week.