It happens. Your team is moving along just fine, but then –seemingly out of nowhere, warning signs begin to arise.
Maybe one of your workers starts having issues with time management, or you notice that things start falling by the wayside. Your employees aren’t as motivated as they once were, and distractions seem to abound.
What your team may be experiencing, may be more than a simple case of forgetting to update their calendars with reminders for important tasks –what may appear to be a time management issue is often a problem with focus –and engagement. To put it simply, your workers are distracted.
“Distraction is one of the biggest hurdles to high-quality knowledge work,” states the Harvard Business Review; something that costs almost one trillion dollars annually. A team that’s unfocused will lead to a drop in productivity –and effectiveness, and can cause your company lose out financially too.
The first step to addressing this problem, HBR states, is to treat it as a company culture problem –one that deserves the attention of senior executives. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help create a workplace that makes it easier for your team to focus –allowing them to produce their best work.
Set Clear Goals
The first step toward creating a focused workforce is by establishing clear expectations –in the form of achievable goals. If your team is unclear about their job descriptions and unaware of what, exactly, they’re supposed to accomplish during the week, then their efforts and attention will be divided. Instead of expecting your team to “fit in where they’re needed,” make sure you have clearly defined roles –and weekly, or monthly objectives for your team to meet.
Keeping your team out of the loop is one of the best ways to discourage them, but communicating with your employees –and giving them the information that they need to do their jobs –well, will help to motivate them. If you’re not sure if your team has the information that they need, or if you’ve noticed a drop in focus, it’s always a good idea to check in and make sure they have everything they need from you to do their work.
It’s also important to let your team know that you always welcome their feedback and questions. Tell them that they’re welcome to reach out with any issues or concerns that they have, and always respond to their feedback in a positive way. It’ll go a long way toward helping them to feel more involved, engaged, and focused.
Everyone loves to hear that they’re doing well. Thanking your team for a job well done will cost you nothing, yet it can go a long way toward helping them to feel more positive –and focused. A simple, “I appreciate your work” is often all that’s required –just make sure your feedback is honest and sincere. When appropriate, constructive feedback can also help your team. Just make sure the advice is given in a helpful, positive way.
If you notice one employee starting to slip, don’t call them out in front of everyone, or make a point of loudly calling them into your office. Instead, discretely schedule a private meeting with them. Your employees are human too, and there might be a legitimate reason for their lack of focus. Understanding, and showing that you care can go a long way toward helping your team member to feel more focused –and engaged at work.
Remind Them That Their Work Counts
Sometimes, a small reminder that their work really does count can make all the difference. Sharing positive feedback that you receive from your customers can help to boost your team’s morale and keep them focused and engaged.
If you’ve noticed a general lack of enthusiasm and motivation among your staff, a drop in productivity, and a general atmosphere of disengagement –these are clear signs that it’s time to take a step back, and start taking action to get your team back on track, motivated –and focused on their work once again.