THESE days, everyone seems overwhelmed and way too busy. But even if your team members have a lot on their plates, they don’t have to sacrifice their health or happiness.
It’s on you, the manager, to help your people cut through the chaos, reduce stress and make sure your team can accomplish its most important work. Here’s how:
1. Focus your team on the things that matter: Begin by asking, “What does the company expect from my team that no other group can accomplish?” Don’t answer this alone in your office. Involve your team. Once you all agree on your team’s purpose, it becomes the guiding principle for how everyone should spend their time and the litmus test for what work team members should take on and what they should let go.
2. Edit their workload: Liane Davey, vice-president of team solutions at Knightsbridge Human Capital and author of You First, advises managers to evaluate each project based on whether or not it’s in “the sweet spot” — what you’ve previously identified as your group’s unique purpose, what they’re good at and what’s important to the larger goals of the organisation.
3. Schedule uninterrupted work: Encourage your team to set aside an hour or more each morning for quiet, proactive work. By making it a group goal, you increase your collective focus and prevent backsliding.
4. Fix your meetings: Establish no more than three objectives, decide who needs to be there, set limits on the duration of meetings and use the last 15 minutes to clarify how the participants will move forward. Above all, make sure a meeting is really necessary.
5. Set limits on e-mail: Limit after-hours e-mails to urgent issues.
6. Lead by example: When setting new norms for your team, you need to walk the talk yourself.
(Adapted from Help your overwhelmed, stressed-out team, at HBR.org.)
© 2015 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp