The Challenge
Managers, you need to find a way to help your team to prioritize their work.

Studies show that 9 out of 10 employees don’t fully understand their company’s strategy.  As a result, too many employees don’t know what’s expected of them or how their contribution helps achieve company goals. In other words, when priorities are unclear and maybe even conflicting employees don’t know what should drive their actions.

Three Ways to Help Your Team to Prioritize
Here are three proven ways for managers to help their teams to prioritize their work and, at the same time, derive satisfaction from a job well done.

  1. Give Employees the Big Picture
    Too often neglected in new manager training is how to understand and clearly articulate the big picture to employees. Employees, especially high performing employees, want and need to know how they connect to and fit into the overall direction and plans of the organization.  So, your first step as a manager is to ensure that employees understand the future direction of the company, can articulate how their job helps the company to achieve success, and know how they fit into future plans.
  2. Give Employees Some Autonomy
    Once employees understand the big picture, your next step is to provide the right balance of autonomy and guidance for them to make decisions on their own. This will give your team a sense of control over their job. Employees who see themselves as more than just so-called worker bees are more engaged in their job and happier doing it.
  3. Provide a Framework for Prioritizing
    Often what stymies employees from moving forward with purpose is that there are too many choices. It’s hard to think clearly about what they should do next when there are so many items on their To Do list. Suggest that they think about their list in terms of what the organization needs most from them, what they are best at doing, and what they like most to do.
    • What the Organization Needs Most
      This filter helps employees think about what they can contribute that best furthers the company strategy. If, for instance, a pillar of the corporate strategy is to ensure customers are satisfied, employees can choose areas related to following up with current customers rather than attracting new ones.  Both items may be on the To Do list, but one is more closely tied to the current strategy for success.
    • What Employees Are Best At
      It’s always easiest to tackle the jobs you know how to do well. You will certainly be tempted to rate those high in priority.  But doing what you do easily may not always be in your best interest.Let’s say that as a salesperson, you are not great at reaching out to new prospects; however, the company wants to expand their customer base.  Guess you’d better learn how to get new clients more effectively.  The better you get; the more you will contribute to the strategy.
    • What Employees Like Most to Do
      Employees who have a passion for their job look forward to coming to work each day. To keep contributing significantly to your team and company, balance priorities so you have enough excitement and energy for your work to stay engaged.

The Bottom Line
Managers, help your team member contribute meaningfully to the company by helping them prioritize tasks according to what the business needs, where their strengths are, and what interests them most.  You will see both employee engagement and performance rise.

To learn more about how to set up your team for success as a new manager, download 3 Must-Have Ingredients of High Performing Teams for New Managers

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