There are few worse crises to hit the office than an unproductive workday — or worse workweek! The simple fact is, you have to get on top of poor productivity quickly, rather than waiting until next Monday’s motivational morning meeting to try to get your team to kick things into overdrive.

Acting quickly, using time-tested leadership tactics, is the only way to run an effective team that meets deadlines and stays on top of the companies most important priorities. Ten are listed on this page and further discussed in the infographic further down the page.

Productive business team

1. Adjust priorities as new things come up

It’s so easy to get stuck into a routine where you and your team develop a to-do list at the beginning of the workday or week, then follow that list from A — Z, regardless of what else comes up. Be willing to readjust and help the team understand when changes need to be made.

2. Take baby steps with complex projects

Even when you have lots of time to meet a huge deadline, a complex project can overwhelm the best of teams. Break things down into smaller steps and milestones, with shorter deadlines to stop complacency from setting in.

3. Keep on them and let them know what you think

Feedback is essential for driving projects forward and keeping that momentum moving at a steady pace. Don’t be afraid to step in and provide feedback, positive or constructive, to make sure things don’t fall off task or lose their pace.

4. Praise strengthens the workplace

Don’t be that manager or CEO who thinks praising your team will make them relax or cause standards to lessen. Praise is something we all seek from others from the time we’re born. It motivates, and motivation creates a productive work environment.

5. Micromanagement stifles productivity

You can’t have your hands in every piece of the project. You’ll never get the work you need done, due to over-meddling and requiring employees to constantly require your feedback. Just as bad, your employees will find themselves constantly back-tracking and second-guessing the decisions they are actually empowered to make.

Mentoring session
photo credit: Gvahim / Flickr

6. Teach productivity and self-improvement

Don’t expect everyone to figure it out on their own. Host workshops, with hired professionals or educated management and team members, to foster an environment where employees will actually want to learn how to operate at their best.

7. Post motivational visuals around the office

Sure, it’s cheesy, but it works. Simple slogans on posters that say age-old sayings like “There’s no time like the present,” “Be all you can do,” and many others can give a sluggish employee a real boost. Same goes for outstanding sales reports and positive testimonials from clients.

8. Don’t worry, be happy

In the context of productivity, everyone needs to be in a good mood at least 90% of the time, if not 100%. This starts with management, and works its way down the chain. Negative employees need to be coached and eventually eliminated if they can’t turn their frown upside down. All it takes is one bad apple…

9. Have fun together

An impromptu, informal lunch at the local pizzeria, or a softball game after work can help your team bond, and as a consequence work more cohesively and efficiently. Same goes for taking time throughout the workweek to engage in some quick fun with these office games.

10. Give them the tools to be more productive

If your team is using antiquated tools, or (gasp) using pen and paper to track projects, you’re doing them a big disservice. Tools like Wrike and other paid and free productivity and collaboration tools can mean the difference between keeping up with the competition and closing the doors.

For more information, take a look at this handy infographic brought to you by Wrike task project management software: