Have you ever noticed that your role as an operations managers is full of answering the same questions and giving similar instructions every day? If so, it’s time to streamline your processes and save yourself the hassle and headache.
Your job is vital to the organization’s success, but it shouldn’t involve fixing everyone’s problems. With the right workflow design, you can get the things on your list finished instead of focusing on the endless minutiae your workers bring to you.
You’ve been trying; we get it! But did you try these three tips? Give them a shot, and you may notice a big change in your work environment — for the betterment of you, your staff, and your customers!
1. Implement a Chain of Command
As the operations managers, you oversee everyone to ensure that the flow is on track. However, there are other “overseers” along the way who have the job of stepping in before you’re necessary.
When everyone knows they can come to you to solve their problems, it can be the most expedient way for them. But this serves two negative purposes: It takes time away from your busy schedule, and it keeps those who are getting paid to do that job from actually doing it.
The first thing you must do is establish a written and visual chain of command. Look at each person’s job description, then determine who they should go to for any questions or concerns. Create a job chart and display this command chain in the common room, then email it to everyone.
That’s the easy part. Once that’s done, it’s up to you to ensure your workers stick to it by pointing them in the designated direction when they come to you for help.
Since you might be able to fix the issue quickly, you’ll be tempted to do it for them. But consistently redirecting everyone will train them to go where they’re supposed to go instead. If there’s a problem with a particular manager who isn’t stepping up and doing their job, you’ll learn about it quickly, and you can address it with them.
2. Use Time Management Blocks
Is your day filled with what seems like a never-ending hamster wheel of tasks? You know, the kind where you no sooner cross one thing off when five more appear?
If so, your problem isn’t that you’re not doing anything to move ahead. It’s that your time management skills may be in need of some tweaking.
When it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, you’re right. The way you’re going, you could work from sunup to sundown and still have more to do. That’s why your time management strategies will help.
Plan for Distraction-Free Time
Instead of devoting a little of your time here and there and trying to get caught up (eventually), adjust your schedule to include deep work blocks. Are there parts of the day that seem a little calmer than others?
Turn your phone off, block out your calendar for two or three hours, and put a big Do Not Disturb sign on your door. Give yourself this time every day to work only on your high-importance things. Soon, your employees will recognize that this block of time is sacred to your productivity (and sanity).
Don’t check your emails or messages, and skip the little tasks that can be done in between putting out fires. Focus on the projects that will take the most attention.
Use a time management strategy like the Pomodoro Technique to force yourself to work for 25 minutes straight, then take a 5-minute stretch break. You’ll be amazed at how much work you can get done when you don’t have distractions.
3. Let Go of Control
When you hire the right people and train them well, you should feel comfortable letting them do their job. Still, many operations managers want to helicopter everyone.
This micromanagement does more harm than good. You’re spending too much time telling people to do what they already know they’re supposed to be doing. And they feel like they’re undervalued and untrusted to do the job they were hired for.
When you release control and let your employees handle things, like planning the logistics of a business trip or stepping up and planning an important meeting, magic happens. You save yourself the headache of doing it all yourself, and you feel valued as a person and employee.
Adjusting the workflow in your company so that it’s streamlined and efficient starts with you. These three simple tips will change the atmosphere of your company, and everyone will appreciate the new direction.