There are a lot of major responsibilities involved in running a company. For our small business, there are often more responsibilities than there are people. While we do not pretend to have all the answers, we have learned a lot about what to do to help your team stay productive and engaged while juggling lots of responsibilities. Here are a few tips.
Give People Responsibilities That They Want
We have a diverse team with different tastes and talents. We try to acknowledge those differences when it comes to the responsibilities employees have at Radial. We have one employee with a journalism background who we let manage our blog. Another has worked in sales, and he does a lot of our lead generation.
While it is not always possible to have people do work that they want to do, we have found it helpful to try to organize teams around work that they are likely to enjoy. Usually people like doing work that they are good at, so our team generally feels both more productive and more engaged when we can successfully manage our interests this way.
Know How Your Team Works
Understanding the workflow of your employees or coworkers is a valuable and difficult skill to acquire. Some people love having direct guidance, with every step of a task clearly spelled out before they even start. Other people would much rather be given a large task with no obvious process to it and be expected to work it out for themselves in their own way.
We know we have one employee that loves diving into code, so we put her in charge of developing an internal framework with basically no guidance. Another employee took on the task of writing our developer lead guide, but she prefers more regular feedback so we made sure to give her that.
Getting to know your team can help you figure out what will make them feel the most empowered. It can also prevent teammates from feeling lost or micromanaged from you giving them too vague, or too explicit, directions.
At companies like ours, work is a bit unpredictable. Some weeks are overbooked. During others, we find ourselves with lots of spare time. The challenge is to use that spare time to accomplish what we put off when we’re busy without becoming daunted by how long that list sometimes gets.
We have not yet found the perfect solution to this, but it seems like the answer relates to focus. Completing two or three meaningful tasks and doing them right is generally much more useful than doing a mediocre job of a long list of things.
For example, one of our employees was given the task of providing general feedback about company policy. He found it more fulfilling to spend a day completely overhauling the documentation than to write a short blurb on the subject and move on to other things on his to-do list. It also makes it less likely that company policy will need more changes in the near future.
These are a few ways we divide our responsibilities. If you are struggling to do the same within your team, consider sitting down with them and asking if these approaches would help them stay productive.