If you’ve ever had a supervisor or manager who was micromanaging your activities, you know increased frequency of superior-subordinate interaction doesn’t guarantee increased employee performance. Though consistent individual communication is important in leadership, the quality of each interaction directly impacts outcomes. Timing impacts quality.
The timing of your message impacts both individual and group productivity. It’s important you know your team, and understand the dynamics of their work environment so you can effectively plan interactions. Likewise, it’s important to stay open to impromptu interactions having nothing to do with work tasks.
I have seen the habit of urgency completely derail communication effectiveness; meaning, the sender of the message was so wrapped up in his/her own world, there was a failure to recognize the receiver was in no place to absorb and reflect the intended message. We have to have enough brain space (bandwidth) to deal with the message or it will only be a stress point as we keep thinking about it. Consider the best timing for your message from the other person’s point of view.
How do you know when your interaction has been productive? Participatory decision-making (buy-in) doesn’t always directly correlate to productivity – they aren’t the same thing. Have you ever been confused after a meeting in which everyone agreed – that’s a great idea, or that’s a great plan!…and then no action was taken? Why? Agreement doesn’t always lead to people taking action.
Some supervisors and managers care less about buy-in than they do about results; others value buy-in to such a degree, organization progress can come to a screeching halt while they wait for everyone to join hands and sing Kumbayah before necessary action toward goals is taken. Productivity is a difficult variable to study, which extends beyond performance. For me, being productive – and even, being more productive than a company has ever been – does not mean every employee or team is performing at their highest potential. Front line employees empowered to make continuous improvement suggestions that are acted upon is one of the performance indicators I watch for. Consequences for those not meeting their performance standards is another performance indicator I watch for. Identify your indicators and then – follow through on them consistently.
This week pay attention to how YOU differentiate between productivity and performance. Also watch for opportunities to train employees on the ways these two concepts overlap, and how they differ. And finally, focus on the TIMING of your messages to ensure best environment for productive communication.