One of the biggest challenges we face is the difficulty of managing individual priorities when working with other team members. Below please find 5 deadly traps that can really zap how effectively team members are able to get their work done. You may want to discuss these with team members during your next meeting. This discussion just might help you each get more done each day! The five deadly traps impacting team time are:

  1. Not communicating realistic priorities and needs. When you ask a team member to do something for you, recognize that he or she has other priorities as well. Be upfront and realistic about the urgency of the task and when it really is needed. Don't make everything a top priority. If it is a really important request, explain why it is so critical, so your team member understands the urgency.
  2. Managing your meetings ineffectively. Make sure you start on time and do it consistently. People will unconsciously "test" how important it is that they be on time. If your team always starts 5-10 minutes late, team members will learn they really aren't expected to be on time. Also stick with your ending times, have a clear agenda, allocate follow-up tasks and communicate responsibilities to everyone. Good meeting management is essential for managing time spent in teams.
  3. Interrupting unnecessarily. It may be easier to get up and ask a team member for an answer when you could find the answer yourself if you looked for it. Remember that every interruption makes it harder for your co-worker to accomplish their own priorities. You might want to use some of these tips for managing interruptions when you face this problem yourself.
  4. Sending Instant Messages to ask simple questions. This is easily abused and can be one of the most difficult interruptions to ignore. Only use Instant Message when it is absolutely critical, and you need an immediate reply. If team members abuse it, turn your IM off!
  5. Sending emails with a "cc" to everyone on your team when it's not essential. We're all swamped with way too much email these days and reading email that isn't really important is a real time waster. Make sure you only "cc" people on emails when it is essential everyone on the list is involved.

Key Take Away

It's never been more important to respect the time of your team members. They have a long list of goals and priorities they need to accomplish each day. Eliminate these 5 deadly traps and you can greatly increase your team's productivity. Plus, you'll feel better because you will be able to get more done each day yourself!

Author's Bio: 

Susan Cullen is President of NexaLearning. She is a leading coach and trainer, helping organizations improve their personal and organizational productivity. For over twenty years, Susan has developed and provided a variety of programs for management and leadership development. She is also a co-author of the book “101 Great Ways to Enhance Your Career”.

For more information to increase your personal or organizational productivity, please feel free to contact us.