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Not only is it important for what you need to do as a leader, you also want to set the pace for your team and challenge them to get more done in less time. Remember that safety takes a priority over production so be careful not to deliver the message that your team should cut corners to boost results.
In our workshops, leaders will often express their concern about the lack of urgency that many of their team members have, a feeling that “as long as it gets done at some point it’s going to be okay.”
That’s key to all of us earning a raise in the future, but also it’s important for the competitiveness of your company. As the leader, you have to act with urgency because that helps set the pace for your whole team. If you send the vibe that says, “Ah, it’s okay, it’ll get done when it gets done,” your team is going to behave in a similar way and that’s not going to help you generate the results management expects.
1. Challenge with specificity, meaning be specific with your challenges.
If you want the team to get faster at doing a certain task or see how many units can be produced in a given period of time, give them that specific challenge, specify the number, and keep encouraging them. Be very specific about the targets and keep those targets tight so that you’ll be able to motivate them to create urgency in the group.
2. Tighten the timeline.
There’s a concept called Parkinson’s Law, which states that the time to do a task tends to expand to fit the time available. In other words, if you loosen up the timeline, people will use up that time to generate the results. So, you as a leader can create urgency by tightening the timeline.
For example, the usual default timing for a meeting is one-hour. How do you tighten it down? Shorten the meeting. If you tell your team, “Guys, we need to finish this order in the next 18 minutes.” That’s very specific and it tightens the timeline. It keeps them hustling. We’re not trying to break people or cause them to burn out or be overwhelmed. We’re just trying to get the sense of urgency because that’s what drives results.
3. Keep pushing.
I know it can feel as a leader that you’re always pushing your team to do more with less. But you need to keep pushing and prodding, even if initially the team complains. Pushing them can help them achieve something that they didn’t even think was possible.
In the end you will help your team feel the pride that comes from achieving more than they thought was possible. Your team’s results will impress management, making you look good as the leader.
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