Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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Is Your Leadership Where It Needs To Be?

(This is the Part 2 of the article, “Leading Remote Teams: Talent is Everywhere – Is Your Leadership Everywhere, Too?”)

Here are more tips for leaders to keep their employees focused, productivity, and connected while the workplace environment continues to change.

AI in Offices

Artificial intelligence is now an everyday technology. When you use Siri or Alexa, you are using artificial intelligence. AI permeates many aspects of our lives in ways we may not even realize. Microsoft announced it has added more AI features to its latest Office 365 update. Hiring firms use AI to screen resumes and data to find the best talent.  Accounting firms use AI to detect fraudulent transactions. More and more office tasks will use AI to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

AI doesn’t mean that people will lose their jobs. There will always be tasks requiring the human touch.  AI just means future managers will need to adapt to new technology and be comfortable with processes and jobs as they evolve.

Upskilling and Micro-Learning

A major benefit of working for an organization is that employees often receive training that would be hard to get or pay for on their own. Helping employees complete a bachelors or masters degree by contributing to tuition and provide time off was widely used in the past. Now, due to rising tuition rates and the need for current job skills, there are an increasing number of online institutions that offer professional certifications or simply useful courses that employees can complete from home or work. Udacity, Udemy, HubSpot and Coursera are just three providers of online learning that can enrich workers’ knowledge and improve their mastery of a job. These courses are more affordable than traditional education, and they tend to be shorter and more specialized.

In-house training is also evolving. Part of that is the approach and the description. Some people don’t like the term “training” because it is so often used with canines. (Although why anyone would object to being aligned with dogs is beyond me, but then again, I am a dog person.  I digress.) Some people may find the term demeaning.   (Again, in the dog world it may be seen as high praise.) Corporate training jobs are being renamed as education team members.  The learning is shorter, more focused, and more fun.

Creating Employee Brand Ambassadors Through Work/Life Balance

All managers hope that they foster an environment where employees love to come to work. However, there are always people who get run down and burned out. Managers can create a team of employees who love the brand by offering reasonable amenities, and following the trend by encouraging good work/life balance (Apple and Google are great examples of this). This may include flexible schedules, time off to volunteer, and making sure that work stays at work.

Studies show that employees who work themselves to exhaustion are not more productive. Those who believe they have a good work/life balance actually work 21 percent harder!

Reward Results, Not Hours Spent at Work

Many organizations struggle to manage employees who work from alternate locations.

Do some people take advantage of this? Yes.

Does working from home or from office co-opts cause people to work more productively? Well, yes.

Many people focus better without being around other people. Without the commute, many workers are better rested and better thinkers. And some people who work remotely may feel they have to work harder to show that they are, in fact working, so they produce better results.

Some companies made the headlines a few years ago when they discovered that some of their remote workers had died and no one noticed. We maintain that knowing what your employees are doing is a management issue, not a location issue. It frustrates top performers when nonproductive employees wander around the office, waste other people’s time, and call it working. They are not working – they are loafing. Your top talent is probably wondering why the workers who accomplish twice as much in a workday are not rewarded for those results. They are right to wonder what you as the leader as rewarding.  

People know who is producing and who is not. When leaders don’t hold the non-producers accountable for the lack of work, it frustrates the top talent. If this persists, that top talent will go somewhere else.

Is your team positioned to lead the future?


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