Team Productivity – What You Need to Know This Week

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Here’s a look at three interesting stories currently in the news with ramifications for your team’s productivity.

1. Getting your team to be more creative probably means accepting less productivity

This difference between productivity and creativity is a prime reason why many managers want more creativity from their teams than they get, argues a new piece in the Harvard Business Review. The work habits required for productivity – moving through tasks in a systematic way and making steady progress toward goals – are different than the ones required for creativity. For creativity to flourish, people need to have the time and space to learn and think about things that aren’t always directly relevant to their jobs, and they need the freedom to explore lots of different avenues, which may look like rambling or lack of focus. “If an organization truly wants creativity, it has to start by hiring more people than it needs just to complete the tasks required for the company to stay afloat,” writes Art Markman. Managers would also need to provide more schedule flexibility to create room when interesting ideas begin to percolate, and “reward employees for engaging in tasks that may ultimately lead to creative solutions, like learning new things, developing new skills, having wide-ranging conversations with colleagues, and trying out ideas that don’t work.”

2. The double-edged sword of being trusted by your boss

It’s not news to note that trust is a key component of work relationships and that workers who feel trusted are more likely to be engaged with and happy at work. But being trusted by the boss can be a burden as well, says a new study in the Academy of Management Journal: “Feeling trusted by a supervisor can increase perceived workload while signaling a reputation that requires effort to maintain.” The study authors caution that managers shouldn’t “look at trusted employees as indefatigable ‘rocks’ who can take on ever more responsibility,” and suggest that managers ensure that they’re distributing work equally, not piling it on the most trusted, and as well as “reassuring trusted employees that their hard-earned reputation is not at risk with every stretching assignment.”

3. Does having a “work spouse” increase your productivity?

Having a “work husband” or “work wife” – a close friend at work who has your back (the term doesn’t imply flirtation!) – can make you work harder and be more engaged with your job because you don’t want to let him or her down, says this Boston Globe article. These relationships can even “strengthen the employee’s emotional contract with the organization as a whole.” As one employee told the paper of a work spouse, ““Jen is my friend, and I want to do good by her. I have a wife at home, and just as I want to make sure I empty the dishwasher, with Jen I want to do my action item.”

You May Also Like:

How to Do a Great Job on a Stretch Assignment

Why Team Productivity Wanes and How to Boost It 

How to Build Trust in the Workplace

Ultimate Guide to Get More Done

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