Employees are constantly reminded to be a team player. Whenever an organization has a last minute deadline or a mission-critical project, everyone is expected to pitch in.
The reality is not everyone is able to contribute. And I’m not talking about having the skills and abilities (we’ll save that for another post). In today’s working world, employees have full plates and full lives. At some point, organizations can’t just heap more work on someone’s plate and declare, in their best Tim Gunn impersonation, “Make it work.” Today’s workplaces are not reality television shows.
I’m hearing from more employees the pressure and guilt they’re feeling about the need to get their work done, still have a life plus jump in and help when those “all hands on deck” moments occur. When I ask people why they just don’t say “no”, they explain the company’s philosophy of “If you’re not with us, you’re against us.”
Seriously, this isn’t a management philosophy. Just like “no news is good news” isn’t a performance evaluation. Managers need to stay in touch with employee workloads and know when they’ve hit the max. In addition, employees need to inform managers what they are working on and the deadlines they’ve been given.
Good resource management involves more than heaping work on employees and guilting them into doing it.
I’ve seen many times where employees are frustrated about their workload along with their manager for not helping alleviate the pain. Come to find out, the manager didn’t know the employee was doing a pet project for a vice president. Or the employee was working on an assignment because it’s fun and they like doing it…even though it’s not part of their job.
One way to increase productivity is to properly manage work assignments and deadlines. I’ve worked places where we used to have quick meetings that allow everyone to share what’s on their plate. This way if work needs to be redistributed, it can happen quickly. It also allows senior management to share projects coming down the pike and possibly rearrange schedules in advance of the “must do” project. And because none of us want another long boring meeting added to our calendars – especially when there’s work to be done – here are a couple of tips to keep the meeting short:
- Make it a standing meeting. This kind of meeting should take minutes, not hours. Once people sit down and get comfy, the meeting gets longer.
- Have it at an unusual time. Like 8:50 a.m. We found people would be habitually late for meetings starting on the quarter hour.
Good resource management involves more than heaping work on employees and guilting them into doing it. Employees should always feel they are part of the team. Even when they are working on a project alone.
Image courtesy of Donna C Green