Working Efficiently requires at least 4 key behaviors:
- apply current technology in practical ways to maximize efficiency;
- make wise use of outside resources;
- have a bias for timely action, and avoid procrastination;
- set priorities and approach assignments according the order of priority
Working efficiently does not occur in a vacuum. Although efficiency starts with the boss, work relationships and teams need to be well established. Managers need to set the expectation that work will be accomplished in an efficient manner, according to accepted standards. Efficiency does not mean simply “fast results.” It also means getting the desired results without waste and without undesired results. Efficiency will be realized primarily through one’s organizational skills and the effective use of current technology. Bosses need to model these kinds of efficiency.
Many of today’s workers and supervisors say their bosses can’t teach anyone how to use current technology because the bosses don’t know how to use it themselves! If this claim is true, these managers lose credibility. In addition these managers lose the ability to monitor and grow the capacity of direct supports to apply technology in practical ways to maximize efficiency. Bosses must be proactive in obtaining training and fluency in the latest technology in order to promote efficiency. Only then can they lead by modeling efficiency and coaching others.
In order to make wise use of outside resources, these resources need to be identified. The courts, CASA, SWIFT, Catholic Charities, law enforcement, and schools are just a few examples of outside resources. County Directors and supervisors need to develop productive working relationships leading to a mutual understanding of shared goals, potential issues, and how to work together. One of the ways County Directors can grow their supervisors is to share the responsibility for managing the relationships with outside resources.
Procrastination is a widely studied workplace problem. Some managers think all the studies are just another form of procrastination! These managers have a bias for action, and say “get up, get in motion, get on target.” In other words, “Ready! Fire! Aim!” These managers are mostly right. They tend to underemphasize planning and setting priorities, preferring to stay busy. Other managers spend so much time analyzing and planning and setting priorities that they may not get to the work in a timely fashion. What is needed is a blend of the bias for acting on the work and the bias for planning and prioritizing. An effective way to make sure these two differing skills are combined is to use a team approach, setting realistic deadlines, smart priorities, and appropriate accountability.
For additional growth in working efficiently:
- Make sure you are current in receiving training on technology used by your staff;
- Ask for feedback from your direct reports and your boss; respond proactively to their ideas:
- How competent are you with current technology? How can you improve?
- Are you effectively setting and communicating priorities? How can you improve?
- How are you perceived as a decision-maker? Decisive? Analytical? Other?