“Push! Push! Push!” is often the motto of too many managers.
They believe that pushing people gets results.
Maybe it does.
For a while.
The “Just get it done!” policy works when it is the exception.
It is entirely inefficient when it is a management style – or, to talk in more direct way, to cover the lack of management skills.
The pushing toll is simply too high on coworkers and (ultimately) results.
On the other hand, effectively balancing tasks and relationships leads to better working conditions and results that stands the test of time.
You must understand that ‘efficient’ and ‘effective’ are not the same:
Efficient (Oxford dictionary)
Working in deliverable way.
Effective (Oxford dictionary)
Successful in producing a desired or intended result.
In other word, you can deliver but with plenty collateral damage along the way.
That’s to be efficient - what’s the point to have the dishes clean if half of it is broken?
In other words, ‘efficient’ is what is best for immediate results.
It means getting a specific task done in the quickest and simplest way possible, no matter how it impacts others.
It is sometimes necessary, it should be the exception and not the standard operating approach for a manager.
If it was, the manager supporting efficient behavior would get in trouble, having to justify repeated collateral damages
On the other hand, a leader supporting ‘effective’ management will ensure that the job gets done in a non-disruptive and damaging manner, impacting only in a positive and sustainable manner those involved directly or indirectly in the process.
It ultimately allows sustained results and positive inter-personal relationships.
The manager supporting effectiveness vs. efficiency knows that today’s task is no more than one job and that there will be many more in the future and that, therefore, it is important to protect their workforce and ensure that they can perform in a pleasant and reassuring environment to ensure the success of the enterprise in the long run – not only to achieve the task in hand.
The effective manager has a long-term vision.
The efficient manager looks only at today and ignores tomorrow.
The latter is a critical potential danger to the success of the company they work for, while the former is key to its long-term success.
Are you effective or efficient?
Answer these questions to understand what kind of manager you are – effective or efficient:
1. Time is too short
If you feel that you’re always running out of time, then you will put tasks before people.
By doing so, you will jeopardize the talents you need so much to successfully achieve your task (be it today or tomorrow).
Learn to manage your duties by using the proper time-management tools and / or following dedicated ‘time management’ training classes.
2. Those tasks are frustrating
If you feel like those deadlines, the complexity of those tasks, etc. make you nervous and you feel unhappy and frustrated, then you become hostile, nervous and pushy – a way to express your frustration.
Hostility is caused by stress and time urgency.
This state of mind has of course a negative influence on your teams and coworkers.
At the end of the day, maybe you will achieve today’s task (but at what price?), but you will not succeed in the long-run - either because you will get sick due to a much too high level of stress, or more often because your teams will not support you.
3. Everything is urgent
Whenever you consider that a high amount of your tasks is urgent – say… over 20% -, then it means that you don’t know how to assess your priorities.
It also means that you do not differentiate major issues from lesser ones.
At the end of the day, you don’t give the required attention to what really matters while you give too much importance to what doesn’t:
Your tasks are never properly completed – your effectiveness level is therefore much too low; you ignore the real bottom line.
You are being efficient, not effective.
It cannot last.
Think about reviewing your work methodology and enrolling to dedicated ‘managing priorities’ training courses as soon as possible!
4. Delegating is not good enough
“If I could only clone myself,” one executive told me once, “then I could get everything done just right.”
This way of thinking is a sure recipe to failure – even if only in the long run.
Path to success is collaborative.
“Unity makes strength” is Belgium motto.
It also applies to business environment.
As we demonstrated over and over in these columns, teams perform better when they work together towards a common goal.
One-man-shows are eventually always counter-productive.
Delegating is not good enough – it is the only way.
Proper delegation requires proper leadership and is no easy task.
If you don’t delegate, you will be efficient (for a short period of time) and will never be effective, hence shooting your own foot in the long run.
5. You feel your behavior may be inappropriate
Whenever you see your team not happy – or faking to be –, or that they are slow to implement your requests and that you feel like regular apologies should be in order because of your aggressive and / or hostile behavior (that you actually apologize or not is totally another issue), comportment change is necessary in order for you to upgrade your way of working with others.
By doing so you will enhance the quality of life for yourself, and your colleagues.
To run organizations at optimal effectiveness, managers need to monitor themselves and others for these risk factors, and use effective behavior, rather than efficiency, as a standard operating procedure.
It is a core requirement to yield better results and ensure long-lasting company success.